Endoplasmic reticulum stress and endothelial dysfunction



Prolonged perturbation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) leads to ER stress and unfolded protein response (UPR) and contributes to the pathogenesis of various chronic disorders. This review focuses on the role of ER stress and UPR in endothelial cells and the relevance of these processes to vascular diseases. Chronic activation of ER stress and UPR pathways in endothelial cells leads to increased oxidative stress and inflammation and often results in cell death. Because endothelial cells play a pivotal role in maintaining vascular homeostasis, various pathological conditions interfering with this homeostasis including homocysteinemia, hyperlipidemia, high glucose, insulin resistance, disturbed blood flow, and oxidative stress can lead to endothelial dysfunction in part through the activation of ER stress. We discuss recently discovered aspects of the role of ER stress/UPR in those pathological conditions. We also summarize recent findings implicating ER stress and UPR in systemic hypertension as well as pulmonary arterial hypertension. Finally, this review will highlight a novel role of UPR mediators in the process of angiogenesis. © 2014 IUBMB Life, 66(8):530–537, 2014