Endothelial cells may produce and release vasoconstrictor substances in response to a number of agents and physical stimuli. In this brief review, current understanding of the mechanisms of endothelium-dependent contractions will be discussed. Cyclooxygenase products of arachidonic acid metabolism including thromboxane A2, prostaglandin H2, superoxide anions, vasoconstrictor peptide endothelin-1, and unidentified factor released from endothelium by hypoxia may mediate these contractions. The physiological role of endothelium-dependent contractions in regulation of the cardiovascular system is unknown. Existing evidence supports the concept that contracting factors may become important regulators of vascular tone under pathological conditions. We speculated about the possible importance of endothelium-dependent contractions for venous graft function, development of vasospasm, increased vascular resistance in hypertension, and vascular complications in diabetes.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association