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      Endothelial dysfunction in cardiovascular disease and Flammer syndrome—similarities and differences

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          Abstract

          <p class="first" id="Par1">The endothelium has increasingly been recognized as a smart barrier and a key regulator of blood flow in micro- and macrovascular beds. Endothelial dysfunction marks a stage of atherosclerosis and is an important prognostic marker for cardiovascular disease. Yet, some people who tend to be slim and physically active and with rather low blood pressure show a propensity to respond to certain stimuli such as emotional stress with endothelial-mediated vascular dysregulation (Flammer syndrome). This leads to characteristic vascular symptoms such as cold hands but also a risk for vascular-mediated diseases such as normal-tension glaucoma. It is the aim of this review to delineate the differences between Flammer syndrome and its “counterpart” endothelial dysfunction in the context of cardiovascular diseases. </p>

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          The obligatory role of endothelial cells in the relaxation of arterial smooth muscle by acetylcholine.

          Despite its very potent vasodilating action in vivo, acetylcholine (ACh) does not always produce relaxation of isolated preparations of blood vessels in vitro. For example, in the helical strip of the rabbit descending thoracic aorta, the only reported response to ACh has been graded contractions, occurring at concentrations above 0.1 muM and mediated by muscarinic receptors. Recently, we observed that in a ring preparation from the rabbit thoracic aorta, ACh produced marked relaxation at concentrations lower than those required to produce contraction (confirming an earlier report by Jelliffe). In investigating this apparent discrepancy, we discovered that the loss of relaxation of ACh in the case of the strip was the result of unintentional rubbing of its intimal surface against foreign surfaces during its preparation. If care was taken to avoid rubbing of the intimal surface during preparation, the tissue, whether ring, transverse strip or helical strip, always exhibited relaxation to ACh, and the possibility was considered that rubbing of the intimal surface had removed endothelial cells. We demonstrate here that relaxation of isolated preparations of rabbit thoracic aorta and other blood vessels by ACh requires the presence of endothelial cells, and that ACh, acting on muscarinic receptors of these cells, stimulates release of a substance(s) that causes relaxation of the vascular smooth muscle. We propose that this may be one of the principal mechanisms for ACh-induced vasodilation in vivo. Preliminary reports on some aspects of the work have been reported elsewhere.
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            The impact of ocular blood flow in glaucoma.

            Two principal theories for the pathogenesis of glaucomatous optic neuropathy (GON) have been described--a mechanical and a vascular theory. Both have been defended by various research groups over the past 150 years. According to the mechanical theory, increased intraocular pressure (IOP) causes stretching of the laminar beams and damage to retinal ganglion cell axons. The vascular theory of glaucoma considers GON as a consequence of insufficient blood supply due to either increased IOP or other risk factors reducing ocular blood flow (OBF). A number of conditions such as congenital glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma or secondary glaucomas clearly show that increased IOP is sufficient to lead to GON. However, a number of observations such as the existence of normal-tension glaucoma cannot be satisfactorily explained by a pressure theory alone. Indeed, the vast majority of published studies dealing with blood flow report a reduced ocular perfusion in glaucoma patients compared with normal subjects. The fact that the reduction of OBF often precedes the damage and blood flow can also be reduced in other parts of the body of glaucoma patients, indicate that the hemodynamic alterations may at least partially be primary. The major cause of this reduction is not atherosclerosis, but rather a vascular dysregulation, leading to both low perfusion pressure and insufficient autoregulation. This in turn may lead to unstable ocular perfusion and thereby to ischemia and reperfusion damage. This review discusses the potential role of OBF in glaucoma and how a disturbance of OBF could increase the optic nerve's sensitivity to IOP.
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              Endothelium-derived relaxing factor produced and released from artery and vein is nitric oxide.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                EPMA Journal
                EPMA Journal
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1878-5077
                1878-5085
                June 2017
                June 6 2017
                June 2017
                : 8
                : 2
                : 99-109
                Article
                10.1007/s13167-017-0099-1
                5545991
                28824736
                884b1c8c-011f-40fc-ae79-1a8527700d4e
                © 2017

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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