Endothelial dysfunction in Buerger's disease and its relation to markers of inflammation

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Abstract Background 

Buerger's disease (BD) is a segmental occlusive vascular disease. The aim of this study was to detect functional changes in brachial artery and asymptomatic morphological changes in extra-cranial carotid arteries not affected by the disease process and to assess markers of inflammation and endothelial damage. Materials and methods 

Fourteen patients in the remission phase of BD and the same number of age- and sex-matched healthy controls were included in the study. The capability of endothelium-dependent (flow-mediated) and endothelium-independent dilation of the brachial artery and intima-media thickness of the carotid arteries were measured using high-resolution ultrasound. Laboratory parameters of endogenous fibrinolytic activity, inflammation and endothelial dysfunction were also measured. Results 

Patients with BD had a diminished capability of endothelium-dependent vasodilation and higher levels of some circulating markers of inflammation, such as leukocytes, C-reactive protein, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and E-selectin. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1 levels were related to some of the inflammatory markers (sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, α2-globulins and fibrinogen), while E-selectin was correlated with decreased endogenous blood fibrinolytic activity. Endothelium-dependent vasodilation was in negative correlation with the relative share of neutrophil granulocytes. There were no significant differences in intima-media thickness between patients with BD and controls. Conclusions 

Our study has expressed generalized functional arterial disorder in patients with BD not accompanied by any measurable morphological changes of the carotid arterial wall. Functional deterioration of brachial artery could be related to increased levels of various inflammatory markers – the process which is most probably the basic pathogenetic mechanism of the disease.

Eur J Clin Invest 2006; 36 (6): 376–382
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