Endoplasmic reticulum stress: a novel mechanism and therapeutic target for cardiovascular diseases

Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2016 Apr;37(4):425-43. doi: 10.1038/aps.2015.145. Epub 2016 Feb 1.


Endoplasmic reticulum is a principal organelle responsible for folding, post-translational modifications and transport of secretory, luminal and membrane proteins, thus palys an important rale in maintaining cellular homeostasis. Endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) is a condition that is accelerated by accumulation of unfolded/misfolded proteins after endoplasmic reticulum environment disturbance, triggered by a variety of physiological and pathological factors, such as nutrient deprivation, altered glycosylation, calcium depletion, oxidative stress, DNA damage and energy disturbance, etc. ERS may initiate the unfolded protein response (UPR) to restore cellular homeostasis or lead to apoptosis. Numerous studies have clarified the link between ERS and cardiovascular diseases. This review focuses on ERS-associated molecular mechanisms that participate in physiological and pathophysiological processes of heart and blood vessels. In addition, a number of drugs that regulate ERS was introduced, which may be used to treat cardiovascular diseases. This review may open new avenues for studying the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases and discovering novel drugs targeting ERS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress / drug effects
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism
  • Unfolded Protein Response / physiology*


  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Molecular Chaperones