Endothelial dysfunction: A marker of atherosclerotic risk

Piero O. Bonetti, Lilach O. Lerman, Amir Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1638 Scopus citations


Endothelial dysfunction is a systemic disorder and a key variable in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and its complications. Current evidence suggests that endothelial status is not determined solely by the individual risk factor burden but rather, may be regarded as an integrated index of all atherogenic and atheroprotective factors present in an individual, including known as well as yet-unknown variables and genetic predisposition. Endothelial dysfunction reflects a vascular phenotype prone to atherogenesis and may therefore serve as a marker of the inherent atherosclerotic risk in an individual. In line with this hypothesis, dysfunction of either the coronary or peripheral vascular endothelium was shown to constitute an independent predictor of cardiovascular events, providing valuable prognostic information additional to that derived from conventional risk factor assessment. Interventions like risk factor modification and treatment with various drugs, including statins and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, may improve endothelial function and thereby, potentially prognosis. Hence, given its reversibility and granted the availability of a diagnostic tool to identify patients at risk and to control the efficacy of therapy in clinical practice, endothelial dysfunction may be an attractive primary target in the effort to optimize individualized therapeutic strategies to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-175
Number of pages8
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular event
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Prognosis
  • Risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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