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Hypertension Research
Vol. 25 (2002) No. 3 May P 365-371



Clinical studies

The endothelium plays an important role in maintaining vascular tone and function. Essential hypertension is associated with alterations in endothelial function. The effects of antihypertensive agents on endothelial function have not been fully evaluated in human hypertension and data on the forearm circulation of humans are controversial. The aim of this study was to determine whether treatment with an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or a calcium antagonist improves endothelial dysfunction in hypertensive patients and whether the mechanism involved could be related to antioxidant activity. Endothelial function was estimated using venous occlusion plethysmography in 18 hypertensive patients and 11 healthy volunteers. The patients in the hypertension group were treated with enalapril or amlodipine. The change of forearm blood flow (FBF) was measured during acetylcholine infusion through the brachial artery and also during intra-arterial vitamin C infusion to explore the effects of vitamin C on responses to acetylcholine. FBF response to acetylcholine was significantly enhanced by intra-arterial infusion of vitamin C in the hypertensive group before antihypertensive treatment. Co-infusion of L-NMMA(NG-monomethyl-L-arginine), an inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, blunted forearm blood flow response to acetylcholine. After antihypertensive treatment with enalapril or amlodipine for 2 months in the hypertensive group, endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation (vasodilatory response to acetylcholine) was significantly improved. Even though the mechanisms leading to depressed endothelial function in essential hypertension remain to be elucidated, our study shows that treatment with an ACE inhibitor or a calcium antagonist resulted in demonstrable improvement by a mechanism that is probably related to antioxidant activity. (Hypertens Res 2002; 25: 365-371)

Copyright © 2002 by the Japanese Society of Hypertension

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