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Circ Res. 2001 Oct 26;89(9):753-62.

Cytochrome p450 and vascular homeostasis.

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Institut für Kardiovaskuläre Physiologie, Klinikum der J.W.G.-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Since the initial reports that renal cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes can metabolize arachidonic acid to substances which affect arterial tone, it has become increasingly clear that CYP enzymes expressed within the cardiovascular system play a crucial role in the modulation of vascular homeostasis. There is strong evidence suggesting that the activation of a CYP epoxygenase in endothelial cells is an essential step in nitric oxide and prostacyclin-independent vasodilatation of several vascular beds, particularly in the heart and kidney. A smooth muscle CYP omega-hydroxylase, on the other hand, generates a vasoconstrictor eicosanoid that is central to the myogenic response. Moreover, CYP epoxygenase and omega-hydroxylase products, as well as CYP-derived reactive oxygen species, are intracellular signal transduction molecules involved in several signaling cascades affecting numerous cellular processes, including vascular cell proliferation and angiogenesis. This review summarizes the vascular effects of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids and 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, both of which are CYP-derived metabolites of arachidonic acid, endogenously generated within endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells. Although the link between CYP expression/activity and cardiovascular disease is currently tentative, the evidence being accumulated to suggest that CYP pathways are altered in animal models of hypertension and atherosclerosis can no longer be ignored. The development of selective pharmacological tools is, however, a prerequisite for the analysis of the involvement of specific CYP isoforms in the regulation of vascular homeostasis in human subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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