Introduction: Prehypertension is considered a precursor of systemic arterial hypertension and a predictor of morbidity-mortality due to cardiovascular diseases, which are the main causes of death in Brazil and the world. Thus, early diagnosis and the adoption of therapeutic measures in cases of prehypertension can reduce cardiovascular risk. The aim of the present study was to perform a selective review of the literature to identify and discuss early endothelial changes in individuals with pre-hypertension. Results and Discussion: The findings indicate an increase in ET-1-mediated vasoconstrictor tone in prehypertension, with endothelial-dependent vasodilatation impairment. Moreover, significantly high levels of angiotensin, arginine and vasopressin were found in this group of patients. A reduction in endothelial fibrinolytic capacity was another important change found in patients with prehypertention and was associated with an increased risk for atherothrombotic events. Conclusion: The present findings demonstrate endothelial changes in individuals with prehypertension that contribute to the development of arterial hypertension as well as a high risk for cardiovascular events, underscoring the importance of the early adoption of optimized therapeutic measures for this population.

Keywords: Prehypertension/epidemiology/etiology/prevention & control, prevalence, risk factors, vascular endothelium.

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