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Circulation. 2001 Feb 13;103(6):799-805.

Comparative effect of ace inhibition and angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonism on bioavailability of nitric oxide in patients with coronary artery disease: role of superoxide dismutase.

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  • 1Abteilung Kardiologie und Angiologie, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany.



Flow-dependent, endothelium-mediated vasodilation (FDD) and activity of extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD), the major antioxidative enzyme of the arterial wall, are severely impaired in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). We hypothesized that both ACE inhibitor (ACEI) and angiotensin II type 1 receptor antagonist (AT(1)-A) increase bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO) by reducing oxidative stress in the vessel wall, possibly by increasing EC-SOD activity.


Thirty-five patients with CAD were randomized to 4 weeks of ACEI (ramipril 10 mg/d) or AT(1)-A (losartan 100 mg/d). FDD of the radial artery was determined by high-resolution ultrasound before and after intra-arterial N-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) to inhibit NO synthase and before and after intra-arterial vitamin C to determine the portion of FDD inhibited by oxygen free radicals. EC-SOD activity was determined after release from endothelium by heparin bolus injection. FDD was improved after ramipril and losartan (each group P<0.01), and in particular, the portion of FDD mediated by NO, ie, inhibited by L-NMMA, was increased by >75% (each group P<0.01). Vitamin C improved FDD initially, an effect that was lost after ramipril or losartan. After therapy, EC-SOD activity was increased by >200% in both groups (ACEI, 14.4+/-1.1 versus 3.8+/-0.9 and AT(1)-A, 13.5+/-1.0 versus 3.9+/-0.9 U. mL(-1). min(-1); each P<0.01). CONCLUSIONS-Four weeks of therapy with ramipril or losartan improves endothelial function to similar extents in patients with CAD by increasing the bioavailability of NO. Our results suggest that beneficial long-term effects of interference with the renin-angiotensin system may be related to reduction of oxidative stress within the arterial wall, mediated in part by increased EC-SOD activity.

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