(1/2013) Distinct and combined vascular effects of ACE blockade and HMG-CoA reductase inhibition in hypertensive subjects.

Hypercholesterolemia and hypertension are frequently associated with elevated sympathetic activity. Both are independent cardiovascular risk factors and both affect endothelium-mediated vasodilation. To identify the effects of cholesterol-lowering and antihypertensive treatments on vascular reactivity and vasodilative capacity, we studied 30 hypercholesterolemic hypertensive subjects. They received placebo for 4 weeks, either enalapril or simvastatin for 14 weeks, and, finally, both medications for an additional 14 weeks. Postischemic forearm blood flow (MFBF) and minimal vascular resistance (mFVR) were used as indices of vasodilative capacity and structural vascular damage, respectively. Total (resting-stress-recovery phases) cardiovascular (blood pressure [BP] and heart rate [HR]) and regional hemodynamic (FBF and FVR) reactivity to stressful stimuli were calculated as area-under-the-curve (auc) (valuextime). Compared with baseline levels, simvastatin reduced total (TOT-C) and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) (1.27 mmol/L, P<0.001 and 1.33 mmol/L, P<0.001, respectively). Enalapril also reduced TOT-C and LDL-C (0.6 mmol/L, P<0.001 and 0.58 mmol/L, P<0.05, respectively). MFBF was increased substantially by both treatments (P<0.001). Enalapril had a greater effect (-1.7 arbitrary units (AU), P<0.001) than simvastatin (-0.6 AU, P<0.05) on mFVR. During stress, FBF increased more with enalapril (4.4 FBFxminutes, P<0.001) than with simvastatin (1.8 FBFxminutes, P<0.01). Conversely, FVR stress response was reduced more with enalapril (9.1 FVRxminutes, P<0.001) than with simvastatin (2.9 FVRxminutes, P<0.01). During combination treatment, a significant (0.001>P<0.05) additive effect on hypercholesterolemia, structural vascular damage, BP, and FVR was shown. The findings suggest that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition induces a larger reduction than HMG-CoA reductase blockade in vascular reactivity and structural damage in hypercholesterolemic hypertensive subjects.  (+info)

(2/2013) Cardiovascular and neuronal responses to head stimulation reflect central sensitization and cutaneous allodynia in a rat model of migraine.

Reduction of the threshold of cardiovascular and neuronal responses to facial and intracranial stimulation reflects central sensitization and cutaneous allodynia in a rat model of migraine. Current theories propose that migraine pain is caused by chemical activation of meningeal perivascular fibers. We previously found that chemical irritation of the dura causes trigeminovascular fibers innervating the dura and central trigeminal neurons receiving convergent input from the dura and skin to respond to low-intensity mechanical and thermal stimuli that previously induced minimal or no responses. One conclusion of these studies was that when low- and high-intensity stimuli induce responses of similar magnitude in nociceptive neurons, low-intensity stimuli must be as painful as the high-intensity stimuli. The present study investigates in anesthetized rats the significance of the changes in the responses of central trigeminal neurons (i.e., in nucleus caudalis) by correlating them with the occurrence and type of the simultaneously recorded cardiovascular responses. Before chemical stimulation of the dura, simultaneous increases in neuronal firing rates and blood pressure were induced by dural indentation with forces >/= 2.35 g and by noxious cutaneous stimuli such as pinching the skin and warming > 46 degrees C. After chemical stimulation, similar neuronal responses and blood pressure increases were evoked by much smaller forces for dural indentation and by innocuous cutaneous stimuli such as brushing the skin and warming it to >/= 43 degrees C. The onsets of neuronal responses preceded the onsets of depressor responses by 1.7 s and pressor responses by 4.0 s. The duration of neuronal responses was 15 s, whereas the duration of depressor responses was shorter (5.8 s) and pressor responses longer (22.7 s) than the neuronal responses. We conclude that the facilitated cardiovascular and central trigeminal neuronal responses to innocuous stimulation of the skin indicate that when dural stimulation induces central sensitization, innocuous stimuli are as nociceptive as noxious stimuli had been before dural stimulation and that a similar process might occur during the development of cutaneous allodynia during migraine.  (+info)

(3/2013) 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin alters cardiovascular and craniofacial development and function in sac fry of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

Hallmark signs of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) toxicity in rainbow trout sac fry, are yolk sac edema, hemorrhage, craniofacial malformation, and growth retardation culminating in mortality. Our objective was to determine the role of cardiovascular dysfunction in the development of this toxicity. An embryotoxic TCDD dose (385 pg/g egg) caused a progressive reduction in blood flow in rainbow trout sac fry manifested first and most dramatically in the 1st and 2nd branchial arches and vessels perfusing the lower jaw. Blood flow was reduced later in the infraorbital artery and occipital vein of the head as well as segmental vessels and caudal vein of the trunk. Reduced perfusion occurred last in gill branchial arteries involved with oxygen uptake and the subintestinal vein and vitelline vein involved with nutrient uptake. Although heart rate throughout sac fry development was not affected, heart size at 50 days post-fertilization (dpf) was reduced far more than body weight or length, suggesting that the progressive circulatory failure caused by TCDD is associated with reduced cardiac output. Craniofacial development was arrested near hatch, giving rise to craniofacial malformations in which the jaws and anterior nasal structures were underdeveloped. Unlike the medaka embryo, in which TCDD causes apoptosis in the medial yolk vein, endothelial cell death was not observed in rainbow trout sac fry. These findings suggest a primary role for arrested heart development and reduced perfusion of tissues with blood in the early-life stage toxicity of TCDD in trout.  (+info)

(4/2013) Sex, age, cardiovascular risk factors, and coronary heart disease: a prospective follow-up study of 14 786 middle-aged men and women in Finland.

BACKGROUND: Coronary heart disease (CHD) is markedly more common in men than in women. In both sexes, CHD risk increases with age, but the increase is sharper in women. We analyzed the extent to which major cardiovascular risk factors can explain the sex difference and the age-related increase in CHD risk. METHODS AND RESULTS: The study cohort consists of 14 786 Finnish men and women 25 to 64 years old at baseline. The following cardiovascular risk factors were determined: smoking, serum total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index, and diabetes. Risk factor measurements were done in 1982 or 1987, and the cohorts were followed up until the end of 1994. The Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess the relation between risk factors and CHD risk. CHD incidence in men compared with women was approximately 3 times higher and mortality was approximately 5 times higher. Most of the risk factors were more favorable in women, but the sex difference in risk factor levels diminished with increasing age. Differences in risk factors between sexes, particularly in HDL cholesterol and smoking, explained nearly half of the difference in CHD risk between men and women. Differences in serum total cholesterol level, blood pressure, body mass index, and diabetes prevalence explained about one-third of the age-related increase in CHD risk among men and 50% to 60% among women. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in major cardiovascular risk factors explained a substantial part of the sex difference in CHD risk. An increase in risk factor levels was associated with the age-related increase in CHD incidence and mortality in both sexes but to a larger extent in women.  (+info)

(5/2013) Cardiovascular, endocrine, and renal effects of urodilatin in normal humans.

Effects of urodilatin (5, 10, 20, and 40 ng. kg-1. min-1) infused over 2 h on separate study days were studied in eight normal subjects with use of a randomized, double-blind protocol. All doses decreased renal plasma flow (hippurate clearance, 13-37%) and increased fractional Li+ clearance (7-22%) and urinary Na+ excretion (by 30, 76, 136, and 99% at 5, 10, 20, and 40 ng. kg-1. min-1, respectively). Glomerular filtration rate did not increase significantly with any dose. The two lowest doses decreased cardiac output (7 and 16%) and stroke volume (10 and 20%) without changing mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate. The two highest doses elicited larger decreases in stroke volume (17 and 21%) but also decreased blood pressure (6 and 14%) and increased heart rate (15 and 38%), such that cardiac output remained unchanged. Hematocrit and plasma protein concentration increased with the three highest doses. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system was inhibited by the three lowest doses but activated by the hypotensive dose of 40 ng. kg-1. min-1. Plasma vasopressin increased by factors of up to 5 during infusion of the three highest doses. Atrial natriuretic peptide immunoreactivity (including urodilatin) and plasma cGMP increased dose dependently. The urinary excretion rate of albumin was elevated up to 15-fold (37 +/- 17 micrograms/min). Use of a newly developed assay revealed that baseline urinary urodilatin excretion rate was low (<10 pg/min) and that fractional excretion of urodilatin remained below 0.1%. The results indicate that even moderately natriuretic doses of urodilatin exert protracted effects on systemic hemodynamic, endocrine, and renal functions, including decreases in cardiac output and renal blood flow, without changes in arterial pressure or glomerular filtration rate, and that filtered urodilatin is almost completely removed by the renal tubules.  (+info)

(6/2013) System identification of closed-loop cardiovascular control mechanisms: diabetic autonomic neuropathy.

We applied cardiovascular system identification (CSI) to characterize closed-loop cardiovascular regulation in patients with diabetic autonomic neuropathy (DAN). The CSI method quantitatively analyzes beat-to-beat fluctuations in noninvasively measured heart rate, arterial blood pressure (ABP), and instantaneous lung volume (ILV) to characterize four physiological coupling mechanisms, two of which are autonomically mediated (the heart rate baroreflex and the coupling of respiration, measured in terms of ILV, to heart rate) and two of which are mechanically mediated (the coupling of ventricular contraction to the generation of the ABP wavelet and the coupling of respiration to ABP). We studied 37 control and 60 diabetic subjects who were classified as having minimal, moderate, or severe DAN on the basis of standard autonomic tests. The autonomically mediated couplings progressively decreased with increasing severity of DAN, whereas the mechanically mediated couplings were essentially unchanged. CSI identified differences between the minimal DAN and control groups, which were indistinguishable based on the standard autonomic tests. CSI may provide a powerful tool for assessing DAN.  (+info)

(7/2013) Considerations in pharmaceutical conversion: focus on antihistamines.

The practice of pharmaceutical conversion, which encompasses three types of drug interchange (generic, brand, and therapeutic substitution), is increasing in managed care settings. Pharmaceutical conversion has numerous implications for managed care organizations, their healthcare providers, and their customers. Although drug cost may be a driving consideration in pharmaceutical conversion, a number of other considerations are of equal or greater importance in the decision-making process may affect the overall cost of patient care. Among these considerations are clinical, psychosocial, and safety issues; patient adherence; patient satisfaction; and legal implications of pharmaceutical conversion. Patient-centered care must always remain central to decisions about pharmaceutical conversion. This article discusses the issues related to, and implications of, pharmaceutical conversion utilizing the antihistamines class of drugs as the case situation.  (+info)

(8/2013) Connexin 43 expression reflects neural crest patterns during cardiovascular development.

We used transgenic mice in which the promoter sequence for connexin 43 linked to a lacZ reporter was expressed in neural crest but not myocardial cells to document the pattern of cardiac neural crest cells in the caudal pharyngeal arches and cardiac outflow tract. Expression of lacZ was strikingly similar to that of cardiac neural crest cells in quail-chick chimeras. By using this transgenic mouse line to compare cardiac neural crest involvement in cardiac outflow septation and aortic arch artery development in mouse and chick, we were able to note differences and similarities in their cardiovascular development. Similar to neural crest cells in the chick, lacZ-positive cells formed a sheath around the persisting aortic arch arteries, comprised the aorticopulmonary septation complex, were located at the site of final fusion of the conal cushions, and populated the cardiac ganglia. In quail-chick chimeras generated for this study, neural crest cells entered the outflow tract by two pathways, submyocardially and subendocardially. In the mouse only the subendocardial population of lacZ-positive cells could be seen as the cells entered the outflow tract. In addition lacZ-positive cells completely surrounded the aortic sac prior to septation, while in the chick, neural crest cells were scattered around the aortic sac with the bulk of cells distributed in the bridging portion of the aorticopulmonary septation complex. In the chick, submyocardial populations of neural crest cells assembled on opposite sides of the aortic sac and entered the conotruncal ridges. Even though the aortic sac in the mouse was initially surrounded by lacZ-positive cells, the two outflow vessels that resulted from its septation showed differential lacZ expression. The ascending aorta was invested by lacZ-positive cells while the pulmonary trunk was devoid of lacZ staining. In the chick, both of these vessels were invested by neural crest cells, but the cells arrived secondarily by displacement from the aortic arch arteries during vessel elongation. This may indicate a difference in derivation of the pulmonary trunk in the mouse or a difference in distribution of cardiac neural crest cells. An independent mouse neural crest marker is needed to confirm whether the differences are indeed due to species differences in cardiovascular and/or neural crest development. Nevertheless, with the differences noted, we believe that this mouse model faithfully represents the location of cardiac neural crest cells. The similarities in location of lacZ-expressing cells in the mouse to that of cardiac neural crest cells in the chick suggest that this mouse is a good model for studying mammalian cardiac neural crest and that the mammalian cardiac neural crest performs functions similar to those shown for chick.  (+info)