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AIMS - To examine the hypothesis that sildenafil, a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor that inhibits cGMP breakdown, could enhance nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation and reverse endothelial dysfunction in chronic smokers.
METHODS - Flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery and forearm postischemic reactive hyperemia (both nitric oxide-mediated responses) were measured before and after sildenafil 50 mg and placebo in a double-blind, randomized, crossover study in 9 men who were chronic smokers (21 +/- 3 pack years).
RESULTS - There was no significant change in flow-mediated dilation after either sildenafil (0.18%, 95%CI -1.7-2%) or placebo (0.24%, 95%CI -2.8-3.3%) (P = 0.88 and 0.8, respectively). Sildenafil had no significant effect on resting forearm blood flow or postischemic reactive hyperemia (P = 0.39 and 0.7, respectively). Resting heart rate and blood pressure were unaffected by sildenafil.
CONCLUSIONS - Acute sildenafil administration did not improve endothelial function in chronic smoking men.
BACKGROUND - Adenosine, a known mediator of preconditioning, has been infused into the coronary circulation to induce therapeutic preconditioning, eg, in preparation for angioplasty. However, results have been disappointing. We tested the hypothesis that endothelial nucleoside transporter acts as a barrier impeding the delivery of intravascular adenosine into the underlying myocardium and that this can be overcome with dipyridamole, a nucleoside transporter blocker.
METHODS AND RESULTS - We infused saline or adenosine (0.125 and 0.5 mg/min) into the brachial artery while monitoring forearm blood flow (FBF) and interstitial adenosine levels with microdialysis probes implanted in the flexor digitorum superficialis of the forearm in 7 healthy volunteers during intravenous administration of saline or dipyridamole (loading dose, 0.142 mg/kg per min for 5 minutes followed by 0.004 mg/kg per min). Adenosine produced near maximal forearm vasodilation, increasing FBF from 4.0+/-0.7 to 10.4+/-1.9 and 13.1+/-1.6 mL/100 mL per min for the low and high doses, respectively, but did not increase muscle dialysate adenosine concentration (from 88+/-21 to 65+/-23 and 85+/-26 nmol/L). Intravenous dipyridamole enhanced resting muscle dialysate adenosine (from 77+/-25 to 147+/-50 nmol/L), adenosine-induced increase in FBF (from 4.1+/-0.8 to 12.6+/-3 and 15.1+/-3 mL/100 mL per min for the low and high dose, respectively), and the delivery of adenosine into the interstitium (to 290+/-80 and 299+/-143 nmol/L for the low and high dose, respectively, P=0.04).
CONCLUSIONS - Intravascular adenosine is likely ineffective in inducing myocardial preconditioning because of poor interstitial delivery. This can be overcome by blocking the nucleoside transporter with dipyridamole.
BACKGROUND - Despite the widespread use of tyramine as a pharmacological tool to assess the effects of norepinephrine release from sympathetic nerve terminals, its vascular effects are not adequately characterized. In particular, previous results indicate that intravenous tyramine produces little if any systemic vasoconstriction, suggesting that tyramine does not cause significant norepinephrine release from sympathetic nerves innervating peripheral vascular beds. To test this hypothesis, we determined the effects of intravenous tyramine on local forearm norepinephrine spillover and vascular resistance.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Seven healthy subjects were studied with systemic and local forearm norepinephrine spillover and forearm blood flow at baseline, during systemic tyramine infusion, and after sympathetic stimulation induced by the cold pressor test. Tyramine infusion caused a significant increase in systemic and forearm norepinephrine spillover. The amount of norepinephrine released into the forearm by tyramine was similar to that caused by cold pressor stimulation, 0.15+/-0.05 versus 0.18+/-0.05 ng x dL(-1) x min(-1). As expected, forearm vascular resistance increased during the cold pressor test, but tyramine produced forearm vasodilation (4.5+/-1 versus -5+/-1 mm Hg x dL(-1) x min(-1), P<0.03) despite the increase in local norepinephrine spillover. In 6 additional subjects, plasma dopamine increased significantly during tyramine administration, from 11+/-3 to 662+/-105 pg/mL.
CONCLUSIONS - Thus, systemic tyramine infusion evokes a significant increase in peripheral norepinephrine spillover, and this, paradoxically, is associated with local vasodilatation rather than vasoconstriction.
BACKGROUND - Endothelial dysfunction (ED), which is a risk factor for atherosclerosis, has been reported recently in chronic hemodialysis (CHD) patients. In this study, we aim to investigate the association of ED and presence of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in CHD patients.
METHODS - One hundred four CHD patients (47 men, 57 women; mean age, 45 +/- 12 years) and 49 age- and sex-matched controls were included. Mean time on dialysis therapy was 62 months. Echocardiographic examination and flow-mediated endothelium-dependent (EDD) and endothelium-independent dilatation (EID) of the brachial artery, measured by high-resolution ultrasonography, a noninvasive method for assessing endothelial function, were performed on a nondialysis day.
RESULTS - LVH was detected in 72 CHD patients (69%). Patients with LVH had a lower EDD (9.3% +/- 6.1% versus 12.1% +/- 8.3%; P = 0.06), but the difference was not significant. Mean EID was significantly lower in CHD patients with LVH (13.6% +/- 7.6% versus 18.6% +/- 9.8%; P = 0.008). Left ventricular mass index (LVMI) correlated with both EDD (r = -0.22; P = 0.03) and EID (r = -0.32; P = 0.002). Patients with LVH had a greater rate of hypertension (35 of 72 versus 7 of 32 patients; P = 0.02) and lower hemoglobin levels (11.0 +/- 1.8 versus 11.8 +/- 1.6 g/dL [110 +/- 18 versus 118 +/- 16 g/L]; P = 0.05). CHD patients had a lower EDD (10.2% +/- 6.9% versus 20.9% +/- 7.6%; P < 0.001) and EID (15.0% +/- 8.5% versus 27.8% +/- 8.5%; P < 0.001) compared with controls. In linear regression analysis for predicting LVMI, presence of hypertension, hemoglobin level, and EID, but not EDD, were found to be independent variables.
CONCLUSION - EID, which may reflect decreased elasticity of arteries, contributes to the development of LVH in CHD patients, in addition to hypertension and anemia.
BACKGROUND - Sildenafil, a treatment for erectile dysfunction, is a specific phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE 5) inhibitor that enhances nitric oxide (NO)-mediated vasodilation in the corpus cavernosum by inhibiting cyclic guanosine monophosphate breakdown. Since PDE 5 is widely expressed in the vasculature, we examined the hypothesis that sildenafil could enhance NO-mediated vasodilation in other vascular beds and improve endothelial function.
METHODS - NO-mediated responses to acetylcholine (endothelium-dependent) and nitroglycerin (endothelium-independent) were measured in healthy men in the dorsal hand vein (n = 13), after the administration of either sildenafil 50 mg or placebo. Flow-mediated dilation of the brachial artery and forearm postischemic reactive hyperemia were measured before and after sildenafil 50 mg, isosorbide dinitrate 5 mg, and placebo in a double-blind, randomized, crossover study (n = 11).
RESULTS - In the hand vein, sildenafil administration increased sensitivity to local nitroglycerin. The 50% effective dose decreased approximately 4-fold from 13.5 ng/min (range, 6.9-26.6 ng/min) to 2.7 ng/min (range, 1.1-6.4 ng/min) (P =.025). Sildenafil decreased the maximum venoconstriction induced by phenylephrine from 81% +/- 3% to 74% +/- 3% (P =.025). Sildenafil did not significantly affect the maximal venodilatory response to acetylcholine (35% +/- 7% after placebo versus 32% +/- 8% after sildenafil) (P =.7). In the arterial vasculature, flow-mediated dilation before (2.4% +/- 1%) and after (2.8% +/- 1.4%) sildenafil (P =.8) and postischemic reactive hyperemia area under the curve before (1807 +/- 393 mL. min. s/100 mL) and after (1467 +/- 257 mL. min. s/100 mL) sildenafil were not different (P =.8). Resting heart rate, blood pressure, and resting brachial artery diameter were unchanged after sildenafil administration. Isosorbide dinitrate, an endothelium-independent vasodilator, caused a significant increase in resting brachial artery diameter from 0.53 +/- 0.01 cm to 0.56 +/- 0.02 cm (P =.005), without altering flow-mediated dilation.
CONCLUSIONS - In healthy men sildenafil increased sensitivity to nitroglycerin, an exogenous NO donor, approximately 4-fold but did not affect endothelium-dependent, NO-mediated responses in either the hand vein or forearm vasculature. Differential vascular responses to sildenafil may localize its enhancement of endogenous NO-mediated vasodilation to vascular beds such as the corpus cavernosum.
There is substantial evidence that adenosine activates muscle afferent nerve fibers leading to sympathetic stimulation, but the issue remains controversial. To further test this hypothesis, we used local injections of adenosine into the brachial artery while monitoring systemic muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) with peroneal microneurography. The increase in MSNA induced by 3 mg intrabrachial adenosine (106+/-32%) was abolished if forearm afferent traffic was interrupted by axillary ganglionic blockade (21+/-19%, n=5, P:<0.05). Furthermore, the increase in MSNA induced by intravenous adenosine was 3.7-fold lower and later (onset latency 20.9+/-4.8 seconds versus 8.5+/-1 seconds) than intrabrachial adenosine. Finally, we used forearm exercise (dynamic handgrip at 50% and 15% maximal voluntary contraction, MVC), with or without superimposed ischemia, to modulate interstitial levels of adenosine (estimated with microdialysis) while monitoring MSNA. Fifteen minutes of intense (50% MVC) and moderate (15% MVC) exercise increased adenosine dialysate concentrations from 0.31+/-0.1 to 1.24+/-0.4 micromol/L (528+/-292%) and from 0.1+/-0.02 to 0.419+/-0.16 micromol/L (303+/-99%), respectively (n=7, P:<0.01). MSNA increased 88+/-25% and 38+/-28%, respectively. Five minutes of moderate exercise increased adenosine from 0.095+/-0.02 to 0.25+/-0.12 micromol/L, and from 0.095+/-0.02 to 0.48+/-0.19 micromol/L when ischemia was superimposed on exercise (n=7, P:=0.01). The percent increase in MSNA induced by the various interventions correlated with the percent increase in dialysate adenosine levels (r=0.96). We conclude that adenosine activates muscle afferent nerves, triggering reflex sympathetic activation.
BACKGROUND - Bradykinin is a cardioprotective peptide metabolized by the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE). An insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism in the ACE gene determines plasma ACE levels. The D allele is associated with cardiovascular disease, which may relate to enhanced angiotensin II production or to increased bradykinin degradation to the inactive metabolite bradykinin 1-5 (BK1-5). Therefore, we determined the effect of the ACE I/D polymorphism on human bradykinin metabolism in vivo.
METHODS AND RESULTS - Bradykinin (400 ng/min) was infused into the brachial artery of volunteers with ACE I/I, I/D, or D/D genotypes (n=9 each). The bradykinin and BK1-5 levels in forearm venous return were quantified by liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy. Plasma ACE activity was highest in those with the D/D genotype (36.8+/-6.2 U/mL), intermediate in those with the I/D genotype (25.3+/-3.3 U/mL), and lowest in those with the I/I genotype (20.3+/-2.3 U/mL; P=0.017 for effect of number of D alleles). Bradykinin concentrations were 726+/-242, 469+/-50, and 545+/-104 fmol/mL in I/I, I/D, and D/D subjects, respectively (P>0. 10). Significant correlations existed between the number of D alleles and BK1-5 concentrations (1113+/-290, 1520+/-318, and 1887+/-388 fmol/mL in the I/I, I/D, and D/D groups, respectively; P=0.027) and the ratio of BK1-5 to bradykinin (1.87+/-0.35, 3.09+/-0. 40, and 4.31+/-0.97 in the I/I, I/D, and D/D volunteers, respectively; P=0.010). The venous blood BK1-5:bradykinin ratio correlated with plasma ACE activity (r(2)=0.16, P=0.039), and total kinin concentration correlated with net tissue plasminogen activator release across the forearm (r(2)=0.20, P=0.027).
CONCLUSIONS - The ACE D allele has a significant effect on the in vivo degradation of bradykinin in humans. The ratio of BK1-5:bradykinin may serve as a marker for tissue ACE activity.
It has been postulated that delayed facilitation of norepinephrine release by epinephrine is causally related to the development of hypertension. It has been proposed that a brief increase in epinephrine concentrations results in the uptake of epinephrine into the sympathetic nerve terminal. Subsequent rerelease of epinephrine stimulates presynaptic beta-adrenergic receptors, resulting in a prolonged increase in plasma norepinephrine (NE) concentrations, with amplified sympathetic responses and vasoconstriction. To determine whether such epinephrine-induced, delayed facilitation of NE release occurs in a vascular bed draining resistance vessels and, if it occurs, whether that facilitation differs in hypertension, we used a radioisotope dilution method to measure unstimulated and isoproterenol-stimulated forearm NE spillover before, during, and after a 50 ng/min infusion of epinephrine for 30 minutes directly into the brachial artery. No delayed facilitatory effects of epinephrine on forearm NE spillover were observed in either 6 normotensive (NT) or 8 borderline hypertensive (BHT) subjects (NT unstimulated forearm NE spillover preepinephrine 1.79+/-0.41 ng/min versus postepinephrine 2.36+/-0.65 ng/min, P=.38; BHT preepinephrine 2.24+/-0.70 ng/min versus postepinephrine 1.93+/-0.46 ng/min, P=.51; NT isoproterenol-stimulated forearm NE spillover preepinephrine 4.61+/-1.01 ng/min versus postepinephrine 4.4+/-0.98 ng/min, P=.9; BHT preepinephrine 4.04+/-1.36 ng/min versus postepinephrine 4.69+/-1.49 ng/min P=.5). We conclude that the short-term local infusion of epinephrine does not have a delayed facilitatory effect on forearm NE spillover in NT or BHT subjects. Therefore, the prolonged increase in NE concentrations after epinephrine infusion previously shown systemically, and not seen locally in the forearm, suggests that the delayed facilitatory response to epinephrine may occur in other organs.
The regulation of vascular beta-adrenoceptor responses in humans has been studied in vivo in both arteries and veins. Because venous responses can be studied less invasively than arterial responses, they are an attractive substitute for the measurement of arterial responses, provided that venous responses are representative of responses in resistance arteries. However, although venous, particularly hand vein response, has been extensively studied, arterial and venous beta-adrenergic sensitivities, in the same individuals, have not been compared. Measures of venous and arterial beta-adrenergic sensitivities were compared in 10 healthy normotensive subjects. Forearm blood flow, after administration of increasing doses of isoproterenol into the brachial artery, was measured by strain-gauge plethysmography and was used for determination of arterial beta-adrenoceptor sensitivity, expressed as the IP500 (the dose of isoproterenol resulting in a fivefold [500%] increase in baseline forearm blood flow). Venous sensitivity to isoproterenol, expressed as the IP15 (the dose of isoproterenol resulting in 15% venodilation), was measured in a dorsal hand vein using the linear variable differential transformer. Administration of isoproterenol into the hand vein and brachial artery resulted in venodilation and increased forearm blood flow, respectively. However, there was no correlation between the measures of venous (log IP15) and arterial (log IP500) measures of vascular beta-adrenergic sensitivity (r = -.12, P = .74). We conclude that since arterial and venous sensitivities to isoproterenol in healthy white men did not correlate, venous and arterial beta-adrenergic responses are regulated differently and that studies examining vascular beta-adrenoceptor sensitivity would most appropriately be performed in a vessel representative of the vascular bed of interest.
Because of difficulties in separating the systemic from local effect, the role of presynaptic beta 2-adrenergic receptors in facilitating the neural release of norepinephrine has not been defined previously in humans in vivo. To determine whether stimulation of presynaptic beta-receptors alters local release of norepinephrine, we examined the effects on norepinephrine kinetics of 60 and 400 ng/min intra-arterial isoproterenol in seven healthy male volunteers. Isoproterenol, 60 ng/min, increased forearm norepinephrine spill-over sixfold from a baseline spillover of 0.45 +/- 0.08 to 2.89 +/- 0.69 ng/min (p < 0.01), whereas 400 ng/min isoproterenol increased forearm norepinephrine spillover to 13.25 +/- 2.49 ng/min (p < 0.005), a 29-fold increase above baseline. Coinfusion of 20 to 40 micrograms/min propranolol with 400 ng/min isoproterenol in four subjects significantly attenuated the isoproterenol-induced increase in local norepinephrine spillover to 2.09 +/- 0.92 ng/min (p < 0.05 versus 400 ng/min isoproterenol). This study shows that presynaptic beta-adrenergic receptors facilitate local release of norepinephrine in vivo in humans.