Injury to the glycocalyx during critical conditions

Eglė Belousovienė1, Simona Bielskutė2, Andrius Pranskūnas1

1  Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Department of Intensive Care, Kaunas, Lithuania

2  Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania



The glycocalyx layer is a vital structure that covers the vascular endothelium. Under physiological conditions, it regulates capillary permeability and tone, inhibits leukocyte adhesion, prevents microvascular thrombosis. An ever-increasing number of studies suggest that glycocalyx preservation leads to better outcomes of the disease.  This article aims to review the recent literature describing the importance of the glycocalyx layer and main treatment methods to preserve it. The data was collected in PubMed, Google Scholar, UpToDate databases. Keywords used for data search: glycocalyx, glycocalyx injury, glycocalyx protection. 32 English full-text articles were selected and analyzed.  The results showed that various critical conditions could damage the glycocalyx layer. Timely therapeutic interventions aimed to maintain and restore previously damaged glycocalyx might improve critically ill patients’ survival rate.

Keywords:  glycocalyx, glycocalyx injury, glycocalyx protection.