Endothelium Dependent Relaxation and Atherosclerosis

  • N. Sreeharan
  • R. Jayakody
  • M. Senaratne
  • A. Thomson
  • T. Kappagoda
Part of the Developments in Cardiovascular Medicine book series (DICM, volume 67)


In 1980, Furchgott & Zawadzki demonstrated that the endothelium of the rabbit aorta releases a factor(s) with vasodilator properties in response to acetylcholine (1). This discovery helped to explain two phenomena that had remained pharmacological “paradoxes” — (i) the potent contractile effect of acetylcholine on non-vascular smooth muscle and the concurrent vasodilator action in-vivo on most peripheral vascular beds and (ii) the inability of acetylcholine to relax isolated preparations of blood vessels in-vitro. Furchgott’s group showed that the lack of relaxation to acetylcholine in helical strips of rabbit aorta (which was the standard in-vitro preparation at the time) was the result of unintentional removal of the endothelium during mounting. It was found that with care taken to avoid damage to the intima, any in-vitro preparation (whether a helical strip, a ring or a transverse strip) always relaxed to acetylcholine. Conversely, intentional removal of the intima always resulted in the loss of the relaxatory response of the preparation to acetylcholine.


Arachidonic Acid Donor Tissue Relaxatory Response Endothelium Dependent Relaxation Rabbit Aorta 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Sreeharan
    • 1
  • R. Jayakody
    • 1
  • M. Senaratne
    • 1
  • A. Thomson
    • 1
  • T. Kappagoda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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