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Abstract

Historically considered a metabolically inert cellular layer separating the blood from the underlying tissue, the endothelium is now recognized as a highly dynamic, metabolically active tissue that is critical to organ homeostasis. Under homeostatic conditions, lung endothelial cells (ECs) in healthy subjects are quiescent, promoting vasodilation, platelet disaggregation, and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. In contrast, lung ECs are essential contributors to the pathobiology of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), as the quiescent endothelium is rapidly and radically altered upon exposure to environmental stressors, infectious pathogens, or endogenous danger signals into an effective and formidable regulator of innate and adaptive immunity. These dramatic perturbations, produced in a tsunami of inflammatory cascade activation, result in paracellular gap formation between lung ECs, sustained lung edema, and multi-organ dysfunction that drives ARDS mortality. The astonishing plasticity of the lung endothelium in negotiating this inflammatory environment and efforts to therapeutically target the aberrant ARDS endothelium are examined in further detail in this review.

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2024-02-12
2024-04-25
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