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Surgery. 1991 Sep;110(3):523-8.

Production of endothelium-dependent relaxation responses by saphenous vein grafts in the canine arterial circulation.

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Department of Surgery, University of Iowa School of Medicine, Iowa City.


To determine if venous endothelium can acquire the ability to elicit endothelium-dependent relaxation responses, five dogs underwent femoral artery bypass with autogenous saphenous vein. The veins were harvested 15 to 17 months later. Endothelium-dependent relaxation was determined by measuring tension of deendothelialized coronary arteries mounted on a tensiometer and superfused with the effluent of the vein grafts. These grafts were perfused with acetylcholine and calcium ionophore A23187, which cause case vascular smooth muscle relaxation by means of endothelium-dependent relaxing factor production. Control arteries and veins were obtained from other dogs for comparison. In response to acetylcholine from 10(-9) to 10(-4) mol/L, the final cumulative relaxation produced in the detector coronary artery (mean +/- SD) was 64.2% +/- 25.7% by the control arteries, 14.2% +/- 5.5% by the vein bypass graft, and 5.3% +/- 5.6% by the control veins. In response to A23187 from 10(-8) to 10(-4) mol/L, the final cumulative relaxation was 66.2% +/- 19.0% by the control arteries, 30.6% +/- 8.9% by the vein bypass grafts, and 5.3% +/- 5.6% by the control veins. The differences were significant between the vein bypass grafts and the control arteries (p less than 0.04 for acetylcholine; p less than 0.04 for A23187) and the control veins (p less than 0.03 for acetylcholine; p less than 0.02 for A23187). Perfusion of saphenous veins used as chronic arterial bypass grafts with either acetylcholine or A23187 produced detector vessel relaxation, consistent with endothelium-dependent relaxing factor production. The magnitude of the relaxation response did not approach that from perfusion of control arteries.

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