Author(s): Cahill PA, Redmond EM, Sitzmann JV
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Portal hypertension (PHT) is a common clinical syndrome associated with chronic liver diseases; it is characterized by a pathological increase in portal pressure. Pharmacotherapy for PHT is aimed at reducing both intrahepatic vascular tone and elevated splanchnic blood flow. Due to the altered hemodynamic profile in PHT, dramatic changes in mechanical forces, both pressure and flow, may play a pivotal role in controlling endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cell signaling, structure, and function in cirrhotics. Nitric oxide, prostacyclin, endothelial-derived contracting factors, and endothelial-derived hyperpolarizing factor are powerful vasoactive substances released from the endothelium in response to both humoral and mechanical stimuli that can profoundly affect both the function and structure of the underlying vascular smooth muscle. This review will examine the contributory role of hormonal- and mechanical force-induced changes in endothelial function and signaling and the consequence of these changes on the structural and functional response of the underlying vascular smooth muscle. It will focus on the pivotal role of hormonal and mechanical force-induced endothelial release of vasoactive substances in dictating the reactivity of the underlying vascular smooth muscle, i.e., whether hyporeactive or hyperreactive, and will examine the extent to which these substances may exert a protective and/or detrimental influence on the structure of the underlying vascular smooth muscle in both a normal hemodynamic environment and following hemodynamic perturbations typical of PHT and cirrhosis. Finally, it will discuss the intracellular processes that regulate the release/expression of these vasoactive substances and that control the transformation of this normally protective cell to one that may promote the development of vasculopathy in PHT.
This article was published in Pharmacol Ther
and referenced in Journal of Anesthesia & Clinical Research