Nitric Oxide and Malondialdehyde in Human Hypertension

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Nitric oxide (NO), a multifunctional effector molecule that plays a central role in the maintenance of vascular homeostasis, regulates vascular tone and inhibits platelet and leukocyte adhesion to endothelial cells. NO status is related to the endothelial function. Patients with hypertension have lower levels of NO, increased free radical production, higher oxidative stress, augmented platelet aggregation, and a change in the arachidonic acid cascade metabolism, all leading to the acceleration of the atherosclerotic process. The study subjects included a group of 21 normotensive healthy subjects (8 males and 13 females) with a mean age of 39.2 ± 1.8 years and a body mass index of 27.9 kg/m2, and another group of 42 patients (19 males and 23 females) with untreated essential hypertension with a mean age of 47.6 ± 1.7 years and a body mass index of 28.3 kg/m2. Serum levels and urinary excretion of NO determined as combined nitrate/nitrite (NOx) and serum malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations were measured in the 2 groups of subjects. The serum levels and 24-hour urinary excretion of NOx were significantly higher and the renal clearance of NO was lower in the normotensive group than in the hypertensive patients, indicating decreased NO status in hypertension. There was a negative correlation between serum NO levels and mean arterial pressure, suggesting that a decrease in NO availability is related to increase in blood pressure. Serum concentrations of MDA were higher in the hypertensive patients as compared with the normotensive individuals, suggesting increased oxidative stress in hypertensive patients. These results are in agreement with previous studies showing decreased NO and increased oxidative stress in hypertension. In conclusion, patients with essential hypertension as compared with normotensive individuals have lower NO status, which may contribute to the endothelial dysfunction in hypertension. Increased serum malondialdehyde in hypertensives suggests an association between increased oxidative stress with higher blood pressure.

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