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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2005 May;25(5):932-43. Epub 2005 Feb 24.

Mechanisms, pathophysiology, and therapy of arterial stiffness.

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Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division, National Institute on Aging, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Md, USA.


Arterial stiffness is a growing epidemic associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events, dementia, and death. Decreased compliance of the central vasculature alters arterial pressure and flow dynamics and impacts cardiac performance and coronary perfusion. This article reviews the structural, cellular, and genetic contributors to arterial stiffness, including the roles of the scaffolding proteins, extracellular matrix, inflammatory molecules, endothelial cell function, and reactive oxidant species. Additional influences of atherosclerosis, glucose regulation, chronic renal disease, salt, and changes in neurohormonal regulation are discussed. A review of the hemodynamic impact of arterial stiffness follows. A number of lifestyle changes and therapies that reduce arterial stiffness are presented, including weight loss, exercise, salt reduction, alcohol consumption, and neuroendocrine-directed therapies, such as those targeting the renin-angiotensin aldosterone system, natriuretic peptides, insulin modulators, as well as novel therapies that target advanced glycation end products.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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