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Endothelial Dysfunction in Hypertension

  • Stefano Taddei
  • Antonio Salvetti
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 432)

Abstract

Endothelial cells play a key role in the local regulation of vascular tone because of their strategic anatomical position between the circulating blood and vascular smooth muscle cells (1). The endothelium produces and releases several vasodilator substances, of which the most important is nitric oxide (NO) (2,3), a labile substance derived from the conversion of L-arginine into citrulline (4) by the activity of the enzyme NO-synthase (5). Importantly, this process can be inhibited by L-arginine analogues such as NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) (6). Moreover, endothelial cells produce prostacyclin (7) and a not yet identified endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF) (8). These substances can be produced and released through the stimulation of endothelial cells by mechanical forces (shear stress) (9) or surface receptor activation by specific agonists (acetylcholine, bradykinin, adenosine diphosphate, substance P etc) (1). Also, endothelium-derived NO is not only A potent relaxing agent, but it can additionally inhibit platelet aggregation (10), smooth muscle cell proliferation (11) and monocyte migration (12), thereby exerting a complex protective effect on the vessel wall. Finally, endothelium can produce vasoconstrictor substances such as cyclooxygenase-dependent endothelium-derived contracting factors (EDCF) which are mainly prostanoids, such as prostaglandin H2 and thromboxane A2 (13,14), or superoxide anions (15).

Keywords

Nitric Oxide Endothelial Dysfunction Essential Hypertension Forearm Blood Flow Normotensive Subject 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefano Taddei
    • 1
  • Antonio Salvetti
    • 1
  1. 1.I Clinica MedicaUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

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