Vascular Smooth Muscle Function in Hypertension

Vascular Smooth Muscle Function in Hypertension

Theodora Szasz, Rita C.A. Tostes
ISBN: 9781615046843 | PDF ISBN: 9781615046850
Copyright © 2017 | 104 Pages | Publication Date: October, 2016

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Hypertension is defined by an increase in systemic blood pressure above limits considered normal, currently set at 140 mmHg for systolic and 90 mmHg for diastolic pressure. Assuming central venous pressure to be near zero, mean arterial pressure is determined by the product of total peripheral resistance and cardiac output. In most cases of essential hypertension, as well as in animal models of hypertension, cardiac output and its main determinants, stroke volume and heart rate, are normal, whereas total peripheral resistance is increased. Total peripheral resistance is influenced by a number of factors described by the Poiseuille's law, the most significant of which by far is the diameter of blood vessels of the arterial tree. Since blood vessel diameter is a reflection of both vascular structure and active regulation of vascular tone through mechanisms of vasoconstriction and vasodilatation, it is generally considered that alterations in total peripheral resistance are directly determined by alterations in vascular smooth muscle structure and/or function. Thus, complex blood pressure regulation systems, including renal, nervous, endocrine, immune, and others, in their turn influenced by genetic or environmental factors, converge upon the same molecular mechanisms that control the structure and function of vascular smooth muscle. In this work, rather than providing the exhaustive list of modifications in the blood pressure regulating systems that ultimately affect the vasculature in hypertension, we will focus on the structural and functional alterations of vascular smooth muscle per se during hypertension.

Table of Contents

Historical Considerations on Early Physiological Studies of the Cardiovascular System
An Overview of Vascular Physiology
Alterations in Vascular Smooth Muscle Contraction in Hypertension
Mechanisms of Vascular Smooth Muscle Dysfunction in Hypertension
Vascular Remodeling in Hypertension
Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Interactions in the Vascular Wall
Concluding Remarks
Author Biographies and Acknowledgments

About the Author(s)

Theodora Szasz, Augusta University
Theodora Szasz was born and brought up in Romania. She received her M.D. from the Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and her Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Her interest in smooth muscle function began with her graduate work, which was completed under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie Watts in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department at Michigan State University. During her Ph.D., Dr. Szasz studied the role of reactive oxygen species in modulating venomotor tone during hypertension. Dr. Szasz is now a postdoctoral fellow in the Physiology Department at Augusta University, where she works with Dr. Clinton Webb. Her main research interest is integrative cardiovascular physiology, with a focus on the physiology and pharmacology of smooth muscle, as well as the correlations between risks for cardiovascular disease (hypertension, obesity, diabetes) and mechanisms of vascular dysfunction.

Rita C.A. Tostes, University of Sao Paulo
Rita C. Tostes was born in Brodowski, in the Southeast of Brazil. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the Ribeirao Preto Medical School, University of Sao Paulo. She was introduced to cardiovascular research by Professors Lusiane M. Bendhack and Ana Maria de Oliveira, in Brazil. Her training in vascular physiology and pharmacology included the mentorship of Professors R. Clinton Webb (Augusta, Georgia), Maria Helena Carvalho (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Ernesto L. Schiffrin (Montreal, Quebec), and Rhian M. Touyz (Glasgow, Scotland). With them she discovered the exciting world of cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of vascular function under physiological and, particularly, under pathological conditions. Her research group investigates the mechanisms causing vascular dysfunction in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. She has a special interest in the role of sex hormones, aldosterone, endothelins, and the immune system in the development and progression of arterial hypertension and in the complications associated with diabetes and obesity.


This is a short précis on Vascular smooth muscle in hypertension, which covers the history, the structure and the function of smooth muscle in the wall of blood vessels as it pertains to hypertension, including the participation of perivascular fat and the role of immune cells in vascular injury. Because of the complexity of molecular pathways, function and structure that are covered, these areas are addressed relatively superficially. However, the authors have succeeded in including enough detail that physiologists and pharmacologists at any career stage, researchers of vascular biology and hypertension, students of cardiovascular physiology, even cardiologists interested in vascular biology, will find this short book very useful to acquire an idea of mechanisms that participate in the contribution that vascular smooth muscle in the wall of blood vessels make to elevated blood pressure.
Ernesto L. Schiffrin, Physician-in-Chief, Sir Mortimer B. Davis-Jewish General Hospital (Montreal)

This book provides a comprehensive overview of the role of vascular smooth muscle in the pathophysiology of hypertension. Starting with a historical overview of cardiovascular and vascular smooth muscle physiology and then discussing the vascular functional and structural changes that occur in hypertension, this book will provide the vascular biologist, physiologist, pharmacologist and hypertension-clinician with an outstanding overview on the critical role of vascular smooth muscle in the normal regulation of blood pressure and in the pathophysiology of hypertension. The book is user-friendly, clearly written and enriched with many useful and informative figures and photographs. I highly recommend this book to all students, researchers and clinicians interested in the vascular biology of hypertension.
Rhian M. Touyz, President, International Society of Hypertension

The authors bring in an elegant form, all the physiological aspects pertinent to the functioning of the vascular smooth muscle cell. Several references are mentioned, all very pertinent to the subject. Without a doubt, I would use this text to conduct in-depth discussions on this subject, as well as I will use this material as a source of study for myself. I congratulate the editors for the choice of both authors, who undoubtedly managed to thoroughly review the vascular smooth muscle cell during hypertensive condition.
Fernanda Giachini Vitorino - Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso

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