Excessive oxidative stress plays an important role in the mechanism of atherosclerosis. An increased level of reactive oxygen speices (ROS) within the vascular endothelium eventually impedes the vasodilatative and cytoprotective actions of nitric oxide (NO). Such a condition is considered to be an early feature of atherosclerosis, and is physiologically detectable as a decrease in endothelium-dependent vasodilatation. Increased intracellular ROS levels are involved in the mechanisms of hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia, all of which are major risk factors of atherosclerosis; therefore, the assessment of "oxidative status" is obviously relevant to clinical medicine. However, most of the currently available clinical tests just measure oxidized waste. Considering that the ROS level is determined by the balance between production and elimination, assessment of the ability to eliminate ROS may be a major determinant of the oxidative state and may be useful to assess individual susceptibility to atherosclerotic diseases. Focusing on heme oxygenase (HO)-1, one of the major stress defense mechanisms, we found that the capacity to upregulate HO-1 mRNA is tightly associated with the severity of coronary artery disease. Furthermore, individual differences in stress-induced HO-1 levels were determined by HO-1 gene polymorphism. We propose that clinical use of the HO-1 expression profile as a measure of tolerability against oxidative stress may be relevant in the early diagnosis of atherosclerotic diseases.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Rinsho byori. The Japanese journal of clinical pathology|
|Publication status||Published - 2007 Aug|
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