2007 Volume 43 Issue 4 Pages 117-137
Sepsis is the leading cause of mortality in critically ill patients. In this pathological syndrome, septic shock and sequential multiple organ failure correlate with poor outcome. The pathophysiology of sepsis with acute organ dysfunction involves a highly complex, integrated response that includes activation of number of cell types, inflammatory mediators, and the hemostatic system. Central to this process may be alterations in vascular functions. This review article provides a growing body of evidence for the potential impact of vascular dysfunction on sepsis pathophysiology with a major emphasis on the endothelium. Furthermore, the role of apoptotic signaling molecules in the mechanisms underlying endothelial cell injury and death during sepsis and its potential value as a target for sepsis therapy will be discussed, which may help in the assessment of ongoing therapeutic strategies.