Heterogeneity of endothelium-dependent responses in mammalian blood vessels

P. M. Vanhoutte, V. M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


A number of naturally occurring substances can evoke endothelium-dependent responses in isolated blood vessels. In most arteries studied, acetylcholine, adenosine diphosphate (ADP), adenosine triphosphate (ATP), arachidonic acid, bradykinin, and thrombin cause endothelium-dependent relaxations. In veins, however, the endothelium-dependent inhibitory effect of acetylcholine, ATP, and thrombin often is transient and/or modest, as it is masked by the direct stimulating action of these substances on the venous smooth muscle; arachidonic acid evokes endothelium-dependent augmentation of the contractile response to norepinephrine. Aggregating platelets cause an endothelium-dependent relaxation of certain but not all arteries and veins that is probably me-diated by released serotonin and ADP. The endothelium of the coronary artery may enhance the relaxations caused by catecholamines. Vasopressin causes endothelium-dependent relaxations in cerebral and coronary arteries but not in systemic blood vessels. Hypoxia causes endothelium-dependent increases in tension in systemic arteries and in pulmonary arteries and veins but not in limb veins. The heterogeneity in endothelium-dependent responsiveness may reflect variations in sensitivity of either endothelial or vascular smooth-muscle cells of different anatomical origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S12-S23
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
StatePublished - 1985


  • Acetylcholine
  • Adenosine nucleotides
  • Aggregating platelets
  • Arachidonic acid
  • Arteries
  • Endothelium
  • Serotonin
  • Thrombin
  • Vascular smooth muscle
  • Veins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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