Obesity: Paradigm of Endothelial Dysfunction in Paediatric Age Groups

António Pires, Eduardo Castela, Cristina Sena, Raquel Seiça


Introduction: Obesity is considered a global epidemy with important public health issues as it is an independent risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disorders.
Material and Methods: Approximately 10% of the world’s paediatric population has excess weight or obesity and 40% of these will be obese adults. Obesity is characterized by a chronic, low grade, pro-inflammatory process that ultimately results in endothelial dysfunction, the trigger lesion leading to adult cardiovascular disease. This leads to an imbalance in the synthesis of mediators that normally regulate vascular homeostasis, particularly nitric oxide bioavailability, favoring a pro-atherosclerotic status, the hallmark of cardiovascular
Results: These changes begin early in childhood and anatomopathological studies in children with excess weight or obesity have shown endothelial changes that represent the precursors of the atherosclerotic lesion.
Discussion: Endothelial dysfunction is the earliest manifestation of the atherosclerotic lesion. It is evident in obese children and, as such, it potentially contributes towards cardiovascular disease in the adult.
Conclusion: Although the clinical impact of these changes rarely manifest themselves in infancy, the presence of related biomarkers as well as vascular morphological changes can, at this early stage, be found and assessed.


Adipose Tissue; Child; Endothelium, Vascular; Pediatric Obesity.

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