Inflammatory bowel disease, liver diseases and endothelial function: is there a linkage?

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Abstract

Atherosclerosis is a systemic inflammatory disease able to deeply worsen the outcome of patients because of its serious clinical consequences. The complex inflammatory background underlining such a disease makes atherosclerosis linked to several systemic inflammatory conditions able to impair endothelial function and morphology. Inflammatory bowel diseases are a group of gastrointestinal diseases including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, that is, syndromes characterized by changes in mucosal immunity and gastrointestinal physiology, which could negatively influence the vascular endothelial function and structure. Hepatitis (i.e. inflammatory diseases of the liver mainly due to viral infections) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease could be aligned to inflammatory bowel disease in such an induction of atherosclerosis disease.

Many studies tried to point out the relationship between bowel and liver inflammatory diseases and early vascular changes, considered the first step for atherosclerosis development.

The aim of such a narrative review is to explain the relationship between inflammatory bowel disease, hepatitis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and their role in increasing cardiovascular risk profile due to early impairment in vascular function and morphology.

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