Effect of Aging on Endothelium-Dependent Vascular Relaxation of Isolated Human Basilar Artery to Thrombin and Bradykinin

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Using strips of human basilar arteries mounted in organ chambers to record isometric tension, we investigated vascular reactivity to thrombin and bradykinin. Both agents produced endothelium-dependent relaxation of basilar artery strips precontracted with phenylephrine but had no effect on resting tension in strips with or without endotheUum. The relaxations caused by thrombin were abolished by antithrombin III/heparin, hirudin, and MD805. Thrombin but not bradykinin caused complete tachyphylaxis toward a second exposure. Indomethacin did not inhibit the relaxations induced by thrombin or bradykinin, whereas bromophenacyl bromide and methylene blue did. Aging decreased the relaxation induced by thrombin but did not affect the concentration needed to reach 50% maximal relaxation, nor did it affect the maximal relaxation in response to bradykinin, calcium ionophore A23187, and sodium nitroprusside. Our results suggest that thrombin and bradykinin produce endothelium-dependent relaxations mediated by an endothelium-derived relaxing substance and that the relaxation caused by thrombin is mediated by a proteolytic action on endothelial cells. The decrease in relaxations in response to thrombin with increasing age might be due to a decrease in the number or sensitivity of thrombin receptors on endothelial cells.

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