AskDefine | Define endothelial

Dictionary Definition

endothelial adj : of or relating to or located in the endothelium

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Of or pertaining to the endothelium.

Extensive Definition

The endothelium is the thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels, forming an interface between circulating blood in the lumen and the rest of the vessel wall. Endothelial cells line the entire circulatory system, from the heart to the smallest capillary. These cells reduce friction of the flow of blood allowing the fluid to be pumped farther.
Endothelial tissue is a specialized type of epithelium tissue (one of the four types of biological tissue in animals). More specifically, it is simple squamous epithelium.
Endothelium of the interior surfaces of the heart chambers are called endocardium. Both blood and lymphatic capillaries are composed of a single layer of endothelial cells.


Endothelial cells are involved in many aspects of vascular biology, including:
Endothelial cells also control the passage of materials — and the transit of white blood cells — into and out of the bloodstream.
In some organs, there are highly differentiated endothelial cells to perform specialized 'filtering' functions. Examples of such unique endothelial structures include the renal glomerulus and the blood-brain barrier.


Endothelial dysfunction, or the loss of proper endothelial function, is a hallmark for vascular diseases, and often leads to atherosclerosis. This is very common in patients with diabetes mellitus, hypertension or other chronic pathophysiological conditions. One of the main mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction is the diminishing of nitric oxide, often due to high levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine, which interfere with the normal L-arginine-stimulated nitric oxide synthesis.

See also

External links


  • Molecular Biology of the CELL, 4th edition, Alberts et al., 2002
endothelial in Bulgarian: Ендотел
endothelial in Catalan: Endoteli
endothelial in German: Endothel
endothelial in Spanish: Endotelio
endothelial in Esperanto: Endotelio
endothelial in French: Endothélium
endothelial in Italian: Tessuto endoteliale
endothelial in Latin: Endothelium
endothelial in Dutch: Endotheel
endothelial in Japanese: 血管内皮
endothelial in Low German: Endothel
endothelial in Polish: Śródbłonek
endothelial in Portuguese: Endotélio
endothelial in Serbian: Ендотел
endothelial in Swedish: Endotel
endothelial in Vietnamese: Tế bào nội mô
endothelial in Chinese: 內皮細胞
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