The pulmonary endothelium in acute respiratory distress syndrome: insights and therapeutic opportunities

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The pulmonary endothelium is a dynamic, metabolically active layer of squamous endothelial cells ideally placed to mediate key processes involved in lung homoeostasis. Many of these are disrupted in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a syndrome with appreciable mortality and no effective pharmacotherapy. In this review, we consider the role of the pulmonary endothelium as a key modulator and orchestrator of ARDS, highlighting advances in our understanding of endothelial pathobiology and their implications for the development of endothelial-targeted therapeutics including cell-based therapies. We also discuss mechanisms to facilitate the translation of preclinical data into effective therapies including the application of biomarkers to phenotype patients with ARDS with a predominance of endothelial injury and emerging biotechnologies that could enhance delivery, discovery and testing of lung endothelial-specific therapeutics.

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