Vasoconstrictor responses are augmented in porcine coronary arteries in hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis, leading to an occurrence of coronary vasospasm in the latter condition. The role of the endothelium in the vascular hyperreactivity in hypercholesterolemic and atherosclerotic coronary arteries was examined, particularly in response to aggregating platelets and related vasoactive substances. Male Yorkshire pigs underwent balloon endothelial denudation of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) and 2% high-cholesterol feeding for 10 weeks. Electron microscopic examination demonstrated a full lining of endothelial cells in the LAD and the left circumflex coronary artery (LCX). Endothelium-dependent responses were examined in vitro. In cholesterol-fed animals, endothelium-dependent relaxations to aggregating platelets, serotonin, ADP, bradykinin, thrombin, and the calcium ionophore A23187 were depressed in LAD (atherosclerosis), while the relaxations to aggregating platelets, serotonin and ADP were depressed in LCX (hypercholesterolemia). Serotonin-induced contractions were endothelium-dependently augmented in atherosclerotic LAD; the endothelium-dependent component of the contractions was inhibited by blockers of cyclooxygenase. Bioassay studies demonstrated a depressed release of endothelium-derived relaxing factor(s) from the atherosclerotic LAD in response to serotonin. These experiments indicate that the endothelium-dependent relaxations to aggregating platelets and related vasoactive substances are severely impaired in atherosclerosis and moderately impaired in hypercholesterolemia. Since coronary atherosclerosis was induced by a combination of balloon endothelial injury (and regeneration) and high-cholesterol feeding in this study, the combined effects of those factors must account for the severely impaired responses in atherosclerosis. The depressed release of the endothelium-derived relaxing factor(s) and the concomitant release of vasoconstrictor product(s) of cyclooxygenase appear to be responsible for the impaired relaxations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine