The endothelial glycocalyx is an intravascular compartment which consists of carbohydrate part of membrane glycoconjugates, free proteoglycans and associated proteins. It is thought to play an important role in the vascular tone regulation, vascular permeability and thromboresistance. It was suggested that the leading cause of endothelial dysfunction in various cardiovascular, inflammatory, and kidney diseases is the damage of the endothelial glycocalyx. This review presents the changes in the composition and structure of the endothelial glycocalyx in the settings of damage and under systemic inflammatory response, and the impact of these changes on the functions of endothelial cells and intercellular contacts, mediating the interaction of endothelium and the immune cells. The second issue, discussed in this article is a possible role of endothelial glycocalyx in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia—a complication of pregnancy associated with hypertension, proteinuria and edema. The reviewed data contribute a new insight in the endothelial dysfunction pathogenesis.
Part of the book: Endothelial Dysfunction