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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 801896, 28 pages
Review Article

Endothelium and Its Alterations in Cardiovascular Diseases: Life Style Intervention

1Section of Anatomy and Physiopathology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Brescia, Viale Europa 11, 25123 Brescia, Italy
2Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences and Public Health, University of Brescia, Viale Europa 11, 25123 Brescia, Italy

Received 15 November 2013; Accepted 11 January 2014; Published 26 February 2014

Academic Editor: Iveta Bernatova

Copyright © 2014 Gaia Favero et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The endothelium, which forms the inner cellular lining of blood vessels and lymphatics, is a highly metabolically active organ that is involved in many physiopathological processes, including the control of vasomotor tone, barrier function, leukocyte adhesion, and trafficking and inflammation. In this review, we summarized and described the following: (i) endothelial cell function in physiological conditions and (ii) endothelial cell activation and dysfunction in the main cardiovascular diseases (such as atherosclerosis, and hypertension) and to diabetes, cigarette smoking, and aging physiological process. Finally, we presented the currently available evidence that supports the beneficial effects of physical activity and various dietary compounds on endothelial functions.