Author(s): Gryglewski RJ, Botting RM, Vane JR
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Abstract This review discusses the role of three mediators, synthesized by vascular endothelial cells, that help to keep the surface of the normal endothelium nonthrombogenic. The first is prostacyclin, a product of arachidonic acid metabolism discovered in 1976. This labile prostanoid, with a half-life of approximately 3 minutes, relaxes vascular smooth muscle and inhibits the aggregation of blood platelets. Prostacyclin and its analogues are currently being tested clinically for use in cardiovascular diseases such as primary pulmonary hypertension. The second mediator discussed is endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF), discovered in 1980, which also relaxes smooth muscle and inhibits the aggregation and adhesion of platelets. Substances that stimulate the release of EDRF include acetylcholine, bradykinin, and adenosine 5'-diphosphate. EDRF is even more labile than prostacyclin, with a half-life of about 6 seconds, and it has recently been identified as nitric oxide. Prostacyclin and EDRF are released together following stimulation of endothelial receptors and synergize to inhibit platelet aggregation. 13-Hydroxy-9,11-octadecadienoic acid, a third suggested mediator, is not released but acts from inside the cell to make the endothelial surface nonadhesive for circulating blood cells. It is proposed that these three mediators form the endothelial defense mechanism against blood-borne cells and chemicals and that breakdown of this barrier results in diseases such as hypertension and atherosclerosis.
This article was published in Hypertension
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research