, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 79-88

Effects of blood pressure and glucose on endothelial function

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Abstract

Hypertension and diabetes mellitus are associated with accelerated atherosclerosis and an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease. Loss of the modulatory role of the endothelium can be considered the link between these conditions and cardiovascular disease. Substantial evidence suggests that vasodilation mediated by endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO) is impaired in animal models and in patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus. NO is a principal factor involved in the anti-atherosclerotic properties of the endothelium. Therefore, the pathogenesis of hypertensive and diabetic vascular disease may involve a reduced bioavailability of endothelium-derived NO. Inactivation of NO by reactive oxygen species is an important common mechanism by which endothelial dysfunction may occur. This review summarizes experimental and clinical evidence for impaired NO-mediated vasodilation in the presence of high blood pressure and hyperglycemia. A better understanding of the mechanisms leading to endothelial dysfunction may unmask new preventive strategies to reduce cardiovascular morbility and mortality in these conditions.