alexa Endothelial Dysfunction Induced by Chronic Psychological Stress: A Risk Factor for Atherosclerosis
ISSN: 2329-6607

Cardiovascular Pharmacology: Open Access
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Review Article

Endothelial Dysfunction Induced by Chronic Psychological Stress: A Risk Factor for Atherosclerosis

Hariane Côco1,2* and Ana Maria de Oliveira2

1Departamento de Farmacologia, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Avenida do Café s/n, Brazil

2Laboratório de Injúria Vascular, Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto, USP; Avenida do Café s/n, Monte Alegre, Brazil

*Corresponding Author:
Hariane Côco
Departamento de Farmacologia, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto
Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Avenida do Café s/n
Monte Alegre, 14040-903, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
Tel: + 55 16 3315 4706
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: November 18, 2015; Accepted date: December 11, 2015; Published date: December 17, 2015

Citation: Côco H, Oliveira AM (2015) Endothelial Dysfunction Induced by Chronic Psychological Stress: A Risk Factor for Atherosclerosis. Cardiovasc Pharm Open Access 4:168. doi:10.4172/2329-6607.1000168

Copyright: © 2015 Côco H, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



The exposure to psychological stress can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease due to impaired endothelial function. Mediators such as glucocorticoids, catecholamines, angiotensin II and/or pro-inflammatory cytokines, induced by stress, can contribute to endothelial dysfunction due to increased levels of oxidative stress. The endothelial dysfunction induces reduced expression and/or endothelial nitric oxide synthase enzyme functionality, as well as the impairment of the actions triggered by its metabolite, nitric oxide. Chronic psychological stress leads to atherosclerosis development, which has an endothelial dysfunction at early stages. The oxidative damage and inflammatory mediators, induced by chronic psychological stress, play a key role in this process. Furthermore, chronic psychological stress can contribute to the formation of unstable atherosclerotic lesions as a result of immune system cells accumulation and molecules adhesion, leading to thrombosis and cardiac complications. According to what was stated above, we aim to discuss about the endothelial function impairment mediated by psychological stress, and the involvement of mediators such as glucocorticoids, catecholamines, angiotensin II and pro-inflammatory cytokines in this response. This review covers current advancements to understand how chronic psychological stress could lead to atherosclerosis development.

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