About the Endothelial Glycocalyx
"The Protective Non-Stick Lining of Your Arteries"
The endothelial glycocalyx is a microscopically thin gel-like layer that coats the entire luminal side of the vascular endothelium. It is the key to endothelial health because it prevents cholesterol and other particles from adhering to or penetrating the endothelial wall.
Its functions in vascular and micro-vascular health include:
- Regulates vascular permeability and fluid balance due to the large size and negative charge of its glycosaminoglycans2,3
- Provides a physical barrier against inadvertent adhesion of platelets and leukocytes to the vascular wall4
- Regulates coagulation as many of mediators of coagulation pathway are buried inside the glycocalyx under normal physiological condition5
- Functions as a mechano-sensor and transducer of the shear-force inside blood vessels to regulate the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO) in response to the blood flow3,6