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Introduction: New and emerging implications for the field of vascular biology

  • Carl J Pepine
    Correspondence
    Address for reprints: Carl J. Pepine, MD, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, 1600 Archer Road,, Gainesville, Florida, USA Gainesville, Florida, 32610-0277.
    Affiliations
    Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida, USA
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      (Figure 1) In 1980, Furchgott and Zawedzki
      • Furchgott R.F.
      • Zawedzki J.V.
      The obligatory role of endothelial cells in the relaxation of arterial smooth muscle by acetylcholine.
      reported that an intact endothelium is required for vascular relaxation. Over the next 2 decades, many other studies followed this pioneering study of vascular wall biology, reshaping conceptual thinking in cardiovascular medicine. In particular, we learned that the coronary vessels were not merely passive conduits but were active organs controlling many of the processes that mediate cardiovascular outcomes. Studies demonstrated that the endothelium synthesizes and releases a number of vasoactive molecules that modulate vascular smooth muscle cell function and structure.
      • Vane J.R.
      • Anggard E.E.
      • Botting R.M.
      Regulatory functions of the vascular endothelium.
      Endothelial function replaced endothelial injury in discourse on the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.
      • Ross R.
      The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis a perspective for the 1990s.
      Effects of cardiovascular drugs on the vascular wall were recognized as playing an important role in prevention of events.
      • Dzau V.J.
      Molecular and physiologic aspects of tissue renin-angiotensin system emphasis on cardiovascular control.
      Figure thumbnail GR1
      FIGURE 1Carl J. Pepine, MD
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      References

        • Furchgott R.F.
        • Zawedzki J.V.
        The obligatory role of endothelial cells in the relaxation of arterial smooth muscle by acetylcholine.
        Nature. 1980; 288: 373-376
        • Vane J.R.
        • Anggard E.E.
        • Botting R.M.
        Regulatory functions of the vascular endothelium.
        N Engl J Med. 1990; 323: 27-36
        • Ross R.
        The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.
        Nature. 1993; 362: 801-809
        • Dzau V.J.
        Molecular and physiologic aspects of tissue renin-angiotensin system.
        J Hypertens. 1988; 6: S7-S12