Qin Yang, Anthony P. C. Yim and Guo-Wei He Pages 85 - 92 ( 8 )
Although nitric oxide (NO) is recognized as the primary vasodilator derived from vascular endothelium in regulating the vascular tone, another factor, i.e. the endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF), has recently gained much attention and has been demonstrated to participate in vasodilatation in various blood vessels from different species, despite its unidentified nature. Most of the studies were conducted in animals and the knowledge of this factor in the human vasculature is relatively limited. This review attempts to address the relevance of EDHF-mediated function in humans with the possible identity of EDHF and mechanisms involved. We consider the human vasculature where EDHF involvement has been documented including the systemic, coronary, and visceral (gastrointestinal, renal and reproductive) circulation. In these vascular systems, EDHF plays a role under physiological conditions either as another mechanism or as the “back-up” for NO. Furthermore, the contribution of EDHF changes under certain physiological conditions, such as ageing and pregnancy. In addition, altered EDHF function has been suggested in various pathological conditions including heart diseases, atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, eclampsia, glaucoma, chronic renal failure, erectile dysfunction and ischemia-reperfusion period during open heart surgery. Pharmacological agents such as potassium channel openers or cytochrome P450 metabolites have been used to either protect or recover EDHF-dependent mechanisms. To further develop new therapeutic strategies that target EDHF, a better understanding is essential with regard to the function of EDHF under pathophysiological conditions in humans. Furthermore, the interaction between NO and EDHF as well as their relative contributions in various conditions are critical.
Endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF), nitric oxide, human vasculature, pregnancy, diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, atherosclerosis
Department of Surgery, Block B, 5A, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong,Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong SAR, China.