Role of Endothelial Cells in the Control of Vascular Tone

  • Rudi Busse
  • Ulrich Pohl
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 166)


The vascular endothelium lining the entire circulatory system has a variety of biological functions. It is involved in the regulation of the actions of hemostatic (Stern et al., 1986) and inflammatory compounds in the blood (Bevilacqua and Gimbrone Jr, 1987), and in mass transport across the vascular wall (Caro et al., 1985 (abstract)), as well as in modulation of immune responses (Harlan, 1987) and in vascular cell growth (DiCorleto, 1984). In addition, the endothelium plays a decisive role in the control of vascular tone. It has become evident only in recent years that the endothelium can, by the release of autacoids, induce significant smooth muscle relaxation resulting in increases of blood flow. Of particular interest among these autacoids is endothelium-derived relaxant factor (EDRF) (Furchgott, 1983). It is important to note that a variety of agonists simultaneously stimulate vascular smooth muscle receptors, inducing vasoconstriction, and endothelial receptors, inducing release of EDRF (Bassenge and Busse, 1988). Therefore the presence of an intact endothelium is a significant factor in the net response of vessels to many vasoactive compounds. This chapter will deal with several aspects of this endothelium-mediated control of vascular tone and hence blood flow. Following a brief survey of some properties of EDRF, there will be a discussion of factors that, under physiologic conditions, stimulate and maintain the production of this autacoid. Evidence will also be presented for a role for EDRF in the control of local vascular resistance in vivo and as an inhibitor of platelet activation.


Soluble Guanylate Cyclase Intact Endothelium Vascular Smooth Muscle Relaxation Femoral Blood Flow Entire Circulatory System 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudi Busse
    • 1
  • Ulrich Pohl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied PhysiologyUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgFederal Republic of Germany

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