Coronary “Microvascular Dysfunction”: Evolving Understanding of Pathophysiology, Clinical Implications, and Potential Therapeutics, 2023, Kei et al.

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  1. SNT Gatchaman

    SNT Gatchaman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Coronary “Microvascular Dysfunction”: Evolving Understanding of Pathophysiology, Clinical Implications, and Potential Therapeutics
    Kei, Chun Yeung; Singh, Kuljit; Dautov, Rustem F.; Nguyen, Thanh H.; Chirkov, Yuliy Y.; Horowitz, John D.

    Until recently, it has been generally held that stable angina pectoris (SAP) primarily reflects the presence of epicardial coronary artery stenoses due to atheromatous plaque(s), while acute myocardial infarction (AMI) results from thrombus formation on ruptured plaques. This concept is now challenged, especially by results of the ORBITA and ISCHEMIA trials, which showed that angioplasty/stenting does not substantially relieve SAP symptoms or prevent AMI or death in such patients. These disappointing outcomes serve to redirect attention towards anomalies of small coronary physiology.

    Recent studies suggest that coronary microvasculature is often both structurally and physiologically abnormal irrespective of the presence or absence of large coronary artery stenoses. Structural remodelling of the coronary microvasculature appears to be induced primarily by inflammation initiated by mast cell, platelet, and neutrophil activation, leading to erosion of the endothelial glycocalyx. This leads to the disruption of laminar flow and the facilitation of endothelial platelet interaction. Glycocalyx shedding has been implicated in the pathophysiology of coronary artery spasm, cardiovascular ageing, AMI, and viral vasculitis.

    Physiological dysfunction is closely linked to structural remodelling and occurs in most patients with myocardial ischemia, irrespective of the presence or absence of large-vessel stenoses. Dysfunction includes the impairment of platelet and vascular responsiveness to autocidal coronary vasodilators, such as nitric oxide, prostacyclin, and hydrogen sulphide, and predisposes both to coronary vasoconstriction and to a propensity for microthrombus formation.

    These findings emphasise the need for new directions in medical therapeutics for patients with SAP, as well as a wide range of other cardiovascular disorders.

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    Last edited: Jul 31, 2023

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