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Endothelial-dependent relaxation of vascular smooth muscle cells evoked by a number of agonists, including cholinomimetics and substance P, is often accompanied by an increase (repolarization and/or hyperpolarization) in the membrane potential. This change in membrane potential appears predominantly to reflect the action of an endothelial-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF), which is distinct from NO (or endothelial-derived relaxing factor), and is discussed in this article by Chris Garland and colleagues. In large conducting arteries, EDHF may provide a secondary system to NO, which assumes primary importance in some disease states such as pulmonary hypertension and atherosclerosis. However, in small resistance arteries (100-300 microns), EDHF appears to be a major determinant of vascular calibre under normal conditions, and may therefore be of primary importance in the regulation of vascular resistance.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Trends pharmacol sci

Publication Date

01/1995

Volume

16

Pages

23 - 30

Keywords

Animals, Biological Factors, Endothelium, Vascular, Membrane Potentials, Muscle Tonus