The importance of the endothelium in atherothrombosis and coronary stenting.

Deployment of drug-eluting stents instead of bare-metal stents has dramatically reduced restenosis rates, but rates of very late stent thrombosis (>1 year postimplantation) have increased. Vascular endothelial cells normally provide an efficient barrier against thrombosis, lipid uptake, and inflammation. However, endothelium that has regenerated after percutaneous coronary intervention is incompetent in terms of its integrity and function, with poorly formed cell junctions, reduced expression of antithrombotic molecules, and decreased nitric oxide production. Delayed arterial healing, characterized by poor endothelialization, is the primary cause of late (1 month-1 year postimplantation) and very late stent thrombosis following implantation of drug-eluting stents. Impairment of vasorelaxation in nonstented proximal and distal segments of stented coronary arteries is more severe with drug-eluting stents than bare-metal stents, and stent-induced flow disturbances resulting in complex spatiotemporal shear stress can also contribute to increased thrombogenicity and inflammation. The incompetent endothelium leads to late stent thrombosis and the development of in-stent neoatherosclerosis. The process of neoatherosclerosis occurs more rapidly, and more frequently, following deployment of drug-eluting stents than bare-metal stents. Improved understanding of vascular biology is crucial for all cardiologists, and particularly interventional cardiologists, as maintenance of a competently functioning endothelium is critical for long-term vascular health.
AuthorsFumiyuki Otsuka, Aloke V Finn, Saami K Yazdani, Masataka Nakano, Frank D Kolodgie, Renu Virmani
JournalNature reviews. Cardiology (Nat Rev Cardiol) Vol. 9 Issue 8 Pg. 439-53 (Aug 2012) ISSN: 1759-5010 [Electronic] England
PMID22614618 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't, Review)
Chemical References
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Coronary Restenosis (pathology, prevention & control)
  • Coronary Thrombosis (pathology, prevention & control)
  • Drug-Eluting Stents
  • Endothelium, Vascular (pathology)
  • Fibrinolytic Agents (therapeutic use)
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors

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