The influence of blood flow disturbances on vascular function, endothelial activation and repair capacity has not been fully elucidated either in physiological conditions or in cardiovascular disease. We aimed to determine the impact of increases in retrograde blood flow (RBF) on vascular function, endothelial biomarkers and repair capacity in healthy subjects and patients with hypertension.Main methods:
In seven healthy (CT; 32 ± 15 yr) and eight hypertensive (HT; 34 ± 23 yr) men, flow mediated-dilation (FMD) was assessed before and 10 min after a 30-min maneuver to increase brachial artery RBF in which a pneumatic cuff was inflated to 75 mm Hg on forearm. Blood samples were obtained at rest and during the last minute of the maneuver.Key findings:
Endothelial activation, apoptosis and endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) were measured by flow cytometry; nitrite was measured by ozone-chemiluminescence. No significant disparities were observed in FMD, endothelial activation and circulating EPC between groups at baseline (p> 0.05). However, HT presented higher resting endothelial apoptosis (p= 0.01 vs CT). Exacerbated RBF induced reductions in FMD (p= 0.02 vs baseline) and increases in endothelial activation in both groups (p = 0.049 vs baseline). Endothelial apoptosis increased only in HT (p = 0.02 vs baseline; p = 0.004 vs CT), whereas EPC (p = 0.02 vs baseline; p = 0.03 vs HT) and nitrite (p = 0.04 vs baseline; p = 0.004 vs HT) increased only in CT during the maneuver.Significance:
While findings indicate that increased RBF impairs endothelial function and triggers the EPC mobilization in healthy subjects, patients with hypertension presented greater apoptosis and impaired repair capacity in response to RBF.