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The Role of the Methoxyphenol Apocynin, a Vascular NADPH Oxidase Inhibitor, as a Chemopreventative Agent in the Potential Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases

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Oxidative stress has been linked to the origin and progression of cardiovascular diseases. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate, reduced form (NADPH) oxidase is a multi-component, NADPH-dependent enzyme that generates superoxide anion in the presence of molecular oxygen. The enzyme has been identified and characterized in all 3 vascular wall cell types and represents the major source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in the vascular wall. Inhibition of NADPH oxidase activation appears to suppress the sequence of cellular events that leads to a variety of cardiovascular diseases, including atherosclerosis. The naturally occurring methoxyphenol apocynin has been found to inhibit NADPH oxidase upon activation by peroxidases (e.g. soybean peroxidase, myeloperoxidase) or ROS under mild reaction conditions. Upon peroxidase-catalyzed activation, the apocynin oxidation products act to block the assembly and activation of NADPH oxidase. Although the mechanism of inhibition of NADPH oxidase remains largely unknown, apocynin's high effectiveness and low toxicity makes it a promising lead compound in the development of new therapeutic agents for cardiovascular diseases.

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Keywords: Oxidative stress; apocynin; cardiovascular diseases; nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate; reactive oxygen species; reduced form (NADPH) oxidase

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • Vascular disease is the commonest cause of death in Westernized countries and its incidence is on the increase in developing countries. It follows that considerable research is directed at establishing effective treatment for acute vascular events. Long-term treatment has also received considerable attention (e.g. for symptomatic relief). Furthermore, effective prevention, whether primary or secondary, is backed by the findings of several landmark trials.

    Vascular disease is a complex field with primary care physicians and nurse practitioners as well as several specialties involved. The latter include cardiology, vascular and cardio thoracic surgery, general medicine, radiology, clinical pharmacology and neurology (stroke units). Current Vascular Pharmacology will publish reviews to update all those concerned with the treatment of vascular disease. For example, reviews commenting on recently published trials or new drugs will be included. In addition to clinically relevant topics we will consider 'research-based' reviews dealing with future developments and potential drug targets. Therefore, another function of Current Vascular Pharmacology is to bridge the gap between clinical practice and ongoing research.

    Debates will also be encouraged in the correspondence section of this journal.
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