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      Sympathectomy Causes Aggravated Lesions and Dedifferentiation in Large Rabbit Atherosclerotic Arteries without Involving Nitric Oxide

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          Previously [Histochem J 1997;29:279–286], we found that sympathectomy induced neointima formation in ear but not cerebral arteries of genetically hyperlipidemic rabbits. To clarify the influence of sympathetic nerves in atherosclerosis, and whether their influence involves vascular NO activity, we studied groups of normocholesterolemic intact (NI) and sympathectomized (NS), and hypercholesterolemic intact (HI) and sympathectomized (HS) rabbits (diet/6-hydroxydopamine for 79 days). Segments of basilar (BA) and femoral (FA) arteries were studied histochemically, to evaluate differentiation (anti-desmin, anti-vimentin, anti-h-caldesmon, and nuclear dye), by confocal microscopy, and by in vitro myography. In BAs, staining of NI and NS groups was similar. In hypercholesterolemic groups, a small neointima developed, more frequently in HS segments where smooth muscle cells (SMCs) positive for all antibodies appeared to be migrating into the neointima. In FAs, SMCs stained for the three antibodies in the NI group, but we observed desmin- and h-caldesmon-negative, vimentin-positive cells in some external medial layers of the NS, HI and HS groups, identical to adventitial fibroblasts. Large neointimas of the HS group contained vimentin-positive and largely desmin- and h-caldesmon-negative cells. Relaxation of BA or FA segments to acetylcholine was not decreased by sympathectomy. Sympathectomy increased the contraction of resting FAs to nitro- L-arginine (p = 0.0379). Thus, sympathectomy aggravates the tendency for FA SMCs to migrate and dedifferentiate, increasing atherosclerotic lesions, without decreasing NO activity, but has only minor effects on BAs.

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          Most cited references 43

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          Nitric oxide in the pathogenesis of vascular disease.

          Nitric oxide (NO) is synthesized by at least three distinct isoforms of NO synthase (NOS). Their substrate and cofactor requirements are very similar. All three isoforms have some implications, physiological or pathophysiological, in the cardiovascular system. The endothelial NOS III is physiologically important for vascular homeostasis, keeping the vasculature dilated, protecting the intima from platelet aggregates and leukocyte adhesion, and preventing smooth muscle proliferation. Central and peripheral neuronal NOS I may also contribute to blood pressure regulation. Vascular disease associated with hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, and hypertension is characterized by endothelial dysfunction and reduced endothelium-mediated vasodilation. Oxidative stress and the inactivation of NO by superoxide anions play an important role in these disease states. Supplementation of the NOS substrate L-arginine can improve endothelial dysfunction in animals and man. Also, the addition of the NOS cofactor (6R)-5,6,7, 8-tetrahydrobiopterin improves endothelium-mediated vasodilation in certain disease states. In cerebrovascular stroke, neuronal NOS I and cytokine-inducible NOS II play a key role in neurodegeneration, whereas endothelial NOS III is important for maintaining cerebral blood flow and preventing neuronal injury. In sepsis, NOS II is induced in the vascular wall by bacterial endotoxin and/or cytokines. NOS II produces large amounts of NO, which is an important mediator of endotoxin-induced arteriolar vasodilatation, hypotension, and shock. Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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            Arterial smooth muscle cell heterogeneity: implications for atherosclerosis and restenosis development.

            During atheromatous plaque formation or restenosis after angioplasty, smooth muscle cells (SMCs) migrate from the media toward the intima, where they proliferate and undergo phenotypic changes. The mechanisms that regulate these phenomena and, in particular, the phenotypic modulation of intimal SMCs have been the subject of numerous studies and much debate during recent years. One view is that any SMCs present in the media could undergo phenotypic modulation. Alternatively, the seminal observation of Benditt and Benditt that human atheromatous plaques have the features of a monoclonal or an oligoclonal lesion has led to the hypothesis that a predisposed, medial SMC subpopulation could play a crucial role in the production of intimal thickening. The presence of a distinct SMC population in the arterial wall implies that under normal conditions, SMCs are phenotypically heterogeneous. The concept of SMC heterogeneity is gaining wider acceptance, as shown by the increasing number of publications on this subject. In this review, we discuss the in vitro studies that demonstrate the presence of distinct SMC subpopulations in arteries of various species, including humans. Their specific features and their regulation will be highlighted. Finally, the relevance of an atheroma-prone phenotype to intimal thickening formation will be discussed.
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              Oral L-arginine improves endothelium-dependent dilatation and reduces monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells in young men with coronary artery disease.

              L-Arginine is the physiological substrate for nitric oxide synthesis by the vascular endothelium. In hypercholesterolaemic rabbits, oral L-arginine reduces atheroma, improves endothelium-dependent dilatation and reduces monocyte/endothelial cell adhesion. The effect of oral L-arginine on endothelial physiology is unknown, however, in humans with established atherosclerosis. In a prospective, double-blind, randomised crossover trial, ten men aged 41 +/- 2 years with angiographically proven coronary atherosclerosis took L-arginine (7 g three times per day) or placebo for 3 days each, with a washout period of 10 days. After L-arginine, compared to placebo, plasma levels of arginine were increased (318 +/- 18 vs. 124 +/- 9 mumol/l, P < 0.01) and endothelium-dependent dilatation of the brachial artery (measured as the change in diameter in response to reactive hyperaemia, using external vascular ultrasound) was improved (4.7 +/- 1.1 vs. 1.8 +/- 0.7%, P < 0.04). No changes were seen in endothelium-independent dilatation of the brachial artery (measured as the change in diameter in response to sublingual nitroglycerine), blood pressure, heart rate or fasting lipid levels. Serum from six of the ten subjects after L-arginine and placebo was then added to confluent monolayers of human umbilical vein endothelial cells for 24 h, before human monocytes obtained by countercurrent centrifiguation elutriation were added and cell adhesion assessed by light microscopy. Adhesion was reduced following L-arginine compared to placebo (42 +/- 2 vs. 50 +/- 1%, P < 0.01). In young men with coronary artery disease, oral L-arginine improves endothelium-dependent dilatation and reduces monocyte/endothelial cell adhesion.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                May 2006
                17 May 2006
                : 43
                : 3
                : 289-305
                aUnité de Pathologies Vasculaires, Faculté des Sciences de Bizerte, Jarzouna, and bLaboratoire de Biochimie, Faculté de Médecine de Monastir, Tunisia; cLaboratoire de Recherches Cérébrovasculaires, CNRS UPR646 and dLaboratoire d’Etude de la Microcirculation (EA 3509), Faculté de Médecine Lariboisière-St. Louis, Université Paris VII, Paris, France
                93010 J Vasc Res 2006;43:289–305
                © 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 9, Tables: 3, References: 91, Pages: 17
                Research Paper


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