An enormous number of studies in the last two decades have been devoted to investigating the role of the endothelium in cardiovascular diseases. Nonetheless, the optimal methodology for investigating the multifaceted aspects of endothelial dysfunction is still under debate. Biochemical markers, molecular genetic tests and invasive and non-invasive tools with and without pharmacological and physiological stimuli have been introduced. Furthermore newer pharmacological tools have been proposed. However, the application of these methodologies should fulfil a number of requirements in order to provide conclusive answers in this area of research. Thus, the most relevant methodological issues in the research on endothelial function and dysfunction are summarized in this paper.
aVascular Physiology Unit, Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Trust, London, UK, bUniversity of L'Aquila, Department of Internal Medicine and Public Health, cClinica Medica University of Milano-Bicocca, Ospedale S. Gerardo dei Tintori, Monza, Italy, dCenter for Coronary Physiology and Imaging Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Department of Internal Medicine Mayo Clinic Rochester, Minnesota, USA, eClinical Pharmacology Unit and Research Centre, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK, fDMCS-Clinica Medica 4, University Hospital Padova, gDepartment of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Brescia, hDepartment of Internal Medicine, University of Pisa, Italy and iMultidisciplinary Research Group on Hypertension, Clinical Research Institute of Montreal, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Correspondence and requests for reprints to Gian Paolo Rossi, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Clinica Medica 4 University Hospital, via Giustiniani, 2, 35126 Padova, Italy. Tel: +39 049 821 3304 or 2279; fax: +39 049 875 4179; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 12 July 2004 Revised 1 September 2004 Accepted 8 September 2004