BACKGROUND: Endothelial glycocalyx (EG) is a carbohydrate-rich gel-like mesh covering the apical surface of endothelial cells. It has been linked to the microvascular pathophysiology and tissue metabolism. However, little is known about its condition in young healthy adults.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to describe the condition of EG in young healthy adults by in vivo EG imaging and measurement of syndecan-1, a plasma marker of EG integrity in order to obtain reference values.
METHODS: For in vivo EG studies we used Side-stream Dark Field imaging of the sublingual microcirculation. Recordings were analysed automatically by GlycoCheck software providing the Perfused Boundary Region (PBR) as a marker of EG thickness. Levels of syndecan-1 were analysed in plasma samples by ELISA.
RESULTS: 21 volunteers were included in the study. Median of the PBR value was 1.82 μm (interquartile range 1.69–2.01, 95% CI 1.79–1.97). Median concentration of syndecan-1 was 0.3 ng/ml (interquartile range 0.23–0.39, 95% CI 0.27–0.49).
CONCLUSION: This study provides a comparison for cohorts of patients with a particular disease where the EG is presumably damaged. Our findings do not entirely comply with already published data in healthy individuals.