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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research

Print version ISSN 0100-879XOn-line version ISSN 1414-431X


LAUDE, K.; THUILLEZ, C.  and  RICHARD, V.. Coronary endothelial dysfunction after ischemia and reperfusion: a new therapeutic target?. Braz J Med Biol Res [online]. 2001, vol.34, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 0100-879X.

Although cardiac ischemia is usually characterized as a disease of the myocyte, it is clear that the vasculature, and especially endothelial cells, is also a major target of this pathology. Indeed, using a rat model of ischemia/reperfusion, we were able to detect severe endothelial dysfunction (assessed as a decreased response to acetylcholine) after acute or chronic reperfusion. Given the essential role of the endothelium in the regulation of vascular tone, as well as platelet and leukocyte function, such a severe dysfunction could lead to an increased risk of vasospasm, thrombosis and accelerated atherosclerosis. This dysfunction can be prevented by free radical scavengers and by exogenous nitric oxide. Endothelial dysfunction can also be prevented by preconditioning with brief periods of intermittent ischemia, thus extending to coronary endothelial cells the concept of endogenous protection previously described at the myocyte level. Experiments performed on cultured cells showed that the endothelial protection induced by free radical scavengers or by preconditioning was due to a lesser expression of endothelial adhesion molecules such as intercellular adhesion molecule-1, leading to a lesser adhesion of neutrophils to endothelial cells. Identification of the mechanisms of this protection may lead to the development of new strategies aimed at protecting the vasculature in ischemic heart diseases.

Keywords : coronary endothelium; ischemia [reperfusion]; preconditioning.

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