Institute of Cardiovascular Research, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing 100034, China; Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, China
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) serves several important functions, mainly post-translational modification, folding and assembly of newly synthesized secretary proteins, synthesizing lipids and cellular calcium storage. Various factors can disrupt ER homeostasis and disturb its functions, which leads to the accumulation of unfolded and misfolded proteins and to potential cellular dysfunction and pathological consequences, collectively termed ER stress. Recent progress suggests that ER stress plays a key role in the immune response, diabetes, tumor growth, and some neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, ER stress is involved in several processes of cardiovascular diseases, such as ischemia/reperfusion injury, cardiomyopathy, cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, and atherosclerosis. Further research on the relation of ER stress to cardiovascular diseases will greatly enhance the understanding of these pathological processes and provide novel avenues to potential therapies.