Molecular Mechanisms Leading to Splanchnic Vasodilation in Liver Cirrhosis

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Abstract

In liver cirrhosis, portal hypertension is a consequence of enhanced intrahepatic vascular resistance and portal blood flow. Significant vasodilation in the arterial splanchnic district is crucial for an increase in portal flow. In this pathological condition, increased levels of circulating endogenous vasodilators, including nitric oxide, prostacyclin, carbon monoxide, epoxyeicosatrienoic acids, glucagon, endogenous cannabinoids, and adrenomedullin, and a decreased vascular response to vasoconstrictors are the main mechanisms underlying splanchnic vasodilation. In this review, the molecular pathways leading to splanchnic vasodilation will be discussed in detail.

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