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Effects of high-density lipoprotein on acetylcholine-induced coronary vasoreactivity

  • Frederick E. Kuhn
    Correspondence
    Address for reprints: Frederick E. Kuhn, MD, Division of Cardiology, PHC-5, Georgetown University Medical Center, 3800 Reservoir Road, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007.
    Affiliations
    From the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA

    From the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA
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  • Emile R. Mohler
    Affiliations
    From the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA

    From the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA
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  • Lowell F. Satler
    Affiliations
    From the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA

    From the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA
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  • Kathleen Reagan
    Affiliations
    From the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA

    From the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA
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  • David Y. Lu
    Affiliations
    From the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA

    From the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA
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  • Charles E. Rackley
    Affiliations
    From the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA

    From the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Washington, D.C. USA
    Search for articles by this author
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      Abstract

      Recent evidence suggests that high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol has important vasoactive properties which may contribute to its beneficial effects on atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. The endothelium-dependent vasodilator acetylcholine has been used in a number of experimental studies to assess endothelial function. The relation between serum lipoproteins and acetylcholine-induced coronary vasoreactivity was investigated in patients (n = 27) undergoing elective coronary arteriography. Mean serum cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels were 189 ± 7 (4.84 ± 0.18 mmol/liter), 134 ± 6 (3.47 ± 0.15 mmol/liter), 41 ± 3 (1.06 ± 0.08 mmol/ liter) and 106 ± 30 mg/dl (1.20 ± 0.03 mmol/ liter), respectively. After a baseline arteriogram, acetylcholine was infused into the left main coronary artery and percent change from baseline dimension was determined in 27 angiographically smooth coronary artery segments and in 14 arterial segments with evidence of mild atherosclerotic disease. Intact vascular smooth muscle function was then confirmed in all segments by dilation to intracoronary nitroglycerin. Acetylcholine produced significant vasoconstriction of both angiographically smooth (13 ± 4%, p < 0.05 vs baseline) and diseased (19 ± 4%, p < 0.05 vs baseline) coronary segments. A positive correlation was observed between HDL cholesterol and normal acetylcholine-induced coronary vasoreactivity in both angiographically smooth (r = 0.59, p < 0.001) and diseased (r = 0.62, p < 0.02) coronary segments. No significant correlation was observed, however, between total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or between total cholesterol to HDL ratio and the response of coronary artery diameter to acetylcholine infusion. These findings suggest that HDL cholesterol promotes normal endothelial cell function in both normal and atherosclerotic coronary segments. This beneficial effect may be related to a direct effect of HDL on release of endothelial-derived relaxing factor or may be secondary to its effects on endothelial cell proliferation. Thus, while HDL has important antiatherogenic properties, the clinical benefit of HDL elevation may be related, in part, to its effects on endothelial function and coronary vasoreactivity.
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