Evidence for a Role of Vascular Endothelium in the Control of Arterial Wall Viscosity in Humans
Arterial wall viscosity (AWV) is a major cause of energy dissipation along the arterial tree. Its determinants remain controversial but an active endothelial regulation has been suggested. Our objective was to assess in humans the physiological role of endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO), epoxyeicosatrienoic acids and the effect of modulating smooth muscle tone in the regulation of AWV. We simultaneously measured radial artery diameter, wall thickness, and arterial pressure in healthy volunteers during the local infusion of inhibitors of NO-synthase (NG-monomethyl-l-arginine), epoxyeicosatrienoic acids synthesis by cytochrome P450 (fluconazole), the epoxyeicosatrienoic acids cellular targets calcium-activated potassium channels (tetraethylammonium), alone and in combination. AWV was estimated from the relative viscosity expressed as the ratio of the area of the hysteresis loop of the pressure–diameter relationship to the area under the loading phase. Arterial tone was assessed by measuring change in wall stiffness and midwall stress. NG-monomethyl-l-arginine paradoxically reduced relative viscosity (34.9±8.9%–28.9±8.6%). Conversely, relative viscosity was not modified by fluconazole (33.5±15.5%–32.0±13.6%) but increased by tetraethylammonium (31.7±6.6%–35.7±8.0%). This increase was more marked with NG-monomethyl-l-arginine+fluconazole (31.1±10.7%–43.3±13.2%) and NG-monomethyl-l-arginine+tetraethylammonium (29.5±2.3%–41.5±11.1%) compared with inhibitors alone. Sodium nitroprusside decreased AWV (35.4±2.9%–28.7±2.0%). These effects were associated with parallel change in tone but of different magnitude for similar variations in viscosity, suggesting tone-dependent and independent mechanisms. In conclusion, this is the first demonstration that the endothelial factors, NO and epoxyeicosatrienoic acids, regulate AWV in humans and support the role of arterial tone in this regulation.
Clinical Trial Registration—URL: https://eudract.ema.europa.eu. Unique identifier: RCB2007-A001-10-53.
- Received June 15, 2017.
- Revision received June 28, 2017.
- Accepted October 16, 2017.
- © 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.