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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2000 November;48(11):379-86

Copyright © 2000 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Cardiovascular diseases and nitric oxide in humans

Ferlito S.


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The production of nitric oxide is impaired in patients with clinical and instrumental signs of arteriosclerosis (chronic coronary heart disease, stable and unstable angina, myocardial infarction); the NO deficiency is assessed through the vascular response to the infusion of stimulating (acetycholine) or inhibiting (N-mono-methylarginine) substances upon NO synthesis. Also in hypertensive subjects a weak endothelium-dependent vascular relaxation was documented, but this phenomenon is not constant and is still to be confirmed. In hypercholesterolemic patients a hyporesponsive endothelium-dependent vasodilation has been well documented, lipid lowering agents (drugs, apheresis) improve endothelium function. In heart failure low NO levels are found proportionally to the severity of disease: the expression of NO is depressed, but citokine mediated i NOS expression is enhanced, causing exaggerated amounts of NO and producing myocyte damage or death. Interesting findings indicated NO inhalation as a useful tool for reducing pulmonary hypertension and congestive heart failure.

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