HDL cholesterol levels and endothelial glycocalyx integrity in treated hypertensive patients

Helen Triantafyllidi, MD, PhD, Dimitris Benas, MD, Stefanos Vlachos, MD, Dimitris Vlastos, MD, George Pavlidis, MD, PhD, Antonios Schoinas, MD, Mary Varoudi, MD, Dionysia Birmpa, MD, Paraskevi Moutsatsou, MD, PhD, John Lekakis, MD, PhD, and Ignatios Ikono
Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 2018, November 20


Endothelial dysfunction indicates target organ damage in hypertensive patients. The integrity of endothelial glycocalyx (EG) plays a vital role in vascular permeability, inflammation and elasticity, and finally to cardiovascular disease. The authors aimed to investigate the role of increased HDL cholesterol (HDL‐C) levels, which usually are considered protective against cardiovascular disease, in EG integrity in older hypertensive patients. The authors studied 120 treated hypertensive patients older than 50 years were divided regarding HDL‐C tertiles in group HDLH (HDL‐C ≥ 71 mg/dL, upper HDL‐C tertile) and group HDLL (HDL‐C < 71 mg/dL, two lower HDL‐C tertiles). Increased perfusion boundary region (PBR) of the sublingual arterial microvessels (ranging from 5 to 9 µm) using Sideview Darkfield imaging (Microscan, Glycocheck) was measured as a non‐invasive accurate index of reduced EG thickness. PBR 5‐9 was significantly decreased in group HDLH (P = 0.04). In the whole population, HDL‐C was inversely but moderately related to PBR 5‐9 (r = −0.22, P = 0.01). In a multiple linear regression analysis model, using age, BMI, smoking habit, HDL‐C, LDL‐C, and office SBP, as independent variables, the authors found that BMI (β = 0.25, P = 0.006) independently predicted PBR 5‐9 in the whole population. In older hypertensive patients, HDL‐C ranging between 71 and 101 mg/dL might moderately protect EG and subsequently endothelial function. Future studies in several groups of low‐ or high‐risk hypertensives are needed in order to evaluate the beneficial role of extremely elevated HDL‐C regarding cardiovascular risk evaluation as well as endothelial glycocalyx as a novel index of target organ damage in essential hypertension.