Pathophysiology of smooth muscle in hypertension
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Structural changes of the arteries in hypertension are determined by the unique genetics of the animals and by various growth promoters and growth inhibitors. Vascular smooth muscle cell growth promoting factors include fibroblast growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, and vasoactive peptides such as norepinephrine, angiotensin II, and endothelin. Endothelial cells secrete three types of growth inhibiting factors. These are heparin--heparan sulfate, transforming growth factor beta, and nitric oxide. The effect of sympathetic innervation on vascular growth is probably dependent on its interaction with the renin-angiotensin system. In the mesenteric vascular bed, the elevated resistance in the arterial system is present in both the macroarteries and in the more distal microarteries and veins. Changes in resistance arteries include hypertrophy and reduction in outer diameter (remodelling). In the resistance arteries from human essential hypertensives, remodelling is the predominant finding. Long-term treatment with an angiotensin I converting enzyme inhibitor but not with a beta-blocker was effective in reversing this type of vascular change. Studies have suggested that in addition to angiotensin II, endothelin may play a role in vascular remodelling of resistance arteries.
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