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Can J Cardiol. 2011 Sep-Oct;27(5):601-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2011.01.004. Epub 2011 Jun 25.

Activation of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and increased plasma vasoconstrictors in vasospastic and nonvasospastic angina.

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Unitat Coronària and Laboratorio de Cardiología Experimental, Servei de Cardiologia, Barcelona, Spain.



The cause of coronary vasoconstriction in patients with angina at rest, nonsignificant coronary stenosis, and endothelial dysfunction remains unknown. Our objective was to investigate the association between enhanced coronary vasoconstriction and increased circulating levels of vasoconstrictor agents.


Plasma levels of big endothelin-1, serotonin, and superoxide produced by polymorphonuclear leukocytes were measured in 38 patients with stable angina at rest without significant coronary artery stenosis-23 with nonvasospastic angina and 15 with vasospastic angina-and were compared with 10 patients with stable coronary disease and 20 age-matched controls.


Patients with angina at rest showed higher big endothelin-1 (1.28 vs 0.72 fmol/mL, P < 0.001), serotonin (18.0 vs 9.1 ng/mL, P = 0.002), and superoxide produced by polymorphonuclear leukocytes (177 vs 67 nmol/10 × E8 × minutes, P = 0.001) than did controls. Serotonin and superoxide produced by polymorphonuclear leukocytes were also higher than in coronary disease patients (5.4 ng/mL, P = 0.001, and 97 nmol/10 x E8 x minutes, P = 0.005), and big endothelin-1 levels tended to be higher (0.99 fmol/mL, P = 0.073). Moreover, there were no significant differences in these 3 parameters between patients with vasospastic and nonvasospastic angina, and among the latter, between patients with a positive and those with a negative exercise stress test.


Systemic plasma levels of agents with the potential to produce coronary vasoconstriction are increased in patients with stable vasospastic or nonvasospastic angina and, hence, may contribute to their angina, increased coronary tone, and impaired vasodilatory capacity. Furthermore, they may establish a mechanistic link between the 2 conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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