The endothelium, a protagonist in the pathophysiology of critical illness : focus on cellular markers
van Craenenbroeck, Emeline M.
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Engineering sciences. Technology
BioMed research international
, p. 1-10
University of Antwerp
The endotheliumis key in the pathophysiology of numerous diseases as a result of its precarious function in the regulation of tissue homeostasis. Therefore, its clinical evaluation providing diagnostic and prognostic markers, as well as its role as a therapeutic target, is the focus of intense research in patientswith severe illnesses. In the critically ill with sepsis and acute brain injury, the endothelium has a cardinal function in the development of organ failure and secondary ischemia, respectively. Cellular markers of endothelial function such as endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) and endothelialmicroparticles (EMP) are gaining interest as biomarkers due to their accessibility, although the lack of standardization of EPC and EMP detection remains a drawback for their routine clinical use. In this paper we will review data available on EPC, as a general marker of endothelial repair, and EMP as an equivalent of damage in critical illnesses, in particular sepsis and acute brain injury. Their determination has resulted in new insights into endothelial dysfunction in the critically ill. It remains speculative whether their determination might guide therapy in these devastating acute disorders in the near future.