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Reactive Oxygen Species in Vascular Wall

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Reactive oxygen species (ROS) contribute to the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases including hypertension, atherosclerosis, cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure and diabetes mellitus. Oxidative stress is resulted from excessive generation of ROS that outstrips the antioxidant system. Various agonists, pathological conditions and therapeutic interventions lead to modulated expression and function of oxidant and antioxidant enzymes, including NAD(P)H oxidase, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, xanthine oxidase, myeloperoxidase, superoxide dismutases, catalase and glutathione peroxidase. ROS formed in vascular wall target a wide range of signaling molecules and cellular pathways in both endothelium and vascular smooth muscle, such as transcription factors, protein tyrosine phosphatase, protein tyrosine kinase, mitogen-activated protein kinase, Ca2+-transporting system and protein modification. ROS also have distinct physiological and pathophysiological impacts on vascular cells. ROS contribute to vascular dysfunction and remodeling through oxidative damage by (1) reducing the bioavailability of NO, (2) impairing endothelium-dependent vasodilatation and endothelial cell growth, (3) causing apoptosis or anoikis, (4) stimulating endothelial cell migration, and (5) activating adhesion molecules and inflammatory reaction, leading to endothelial dysfunction, an initial episode progressing toward hypertension and atherosclerosis. Cellular events underlying these processes involve changes in vascular smooth muscle cell growth, apoptosis/anoikis, cell migration, inflammation, and vasoconstriction. The present communication focuses on the biology of ROS signaling in vascular cells, discusses how oxidative stress contributes to vascular damage, and the therapeutic strategies/biotic factors that can prevent or treat ROS-associated cardiovascular disorders.

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Keywords: Reactive oxygen species; antioxidant enzymes; endothelial dysfunction; endothelium; oxidant enzymes; oxidative stress; vascular smooth muscle

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Physiology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Publication date: 2006-03-01

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  • Cardiovascular & Hematological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in cardiovascular and hematological disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in cardiovascular and hematological disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for cardiovascular and hematological drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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