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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 1988;12 Suppl 5:S115-8.

Biochemical mechanisms underlying vascular smooth muscle relaxation: the guanylate cyclase-cyclic GMP system.

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Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA 94305.


Several classes of vasodilators have been demonstrated to elicit their affects by activating guanylate cyclase and elevating intracellular concentrations of cyclic GMP. The nitrovasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, generate nitric oxide, which directly activates the soluble isoenzyme of guanylate cyclase resulting in increased intracellular concentrations of cyclic GMP. A second class of agents, the endothelium-dependent vasodilators, such as acetylcholine, requires an intact endothelium to elicit vascular smooth muscle relaxation, in contrast to the nitrovasodilators. These agents stimulate the release of an endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF), which also activates the soluble form of guanylate cyclase, triggering the production of cyclic GMP. The third class of agents includes atrial natriuretic peptides (ANPs). These low-molecular-weight, heat-stable peptides bind to specific receptors on vascular smooth muscle. These receptors appear unique in that they have a dual function possessing both ANP binding and particulate guanylate cyclase activities. Binding to and activation of particulate guanylate cyclase, in the absence of endothelium, results in the elevation of intracellular concentrations of cyclic GMP and relaxation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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