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Hypertension. 2005 Apr;45(4):608-11. Epub 2005 Feb 7.

Arterial stiffening influence of sympathetic nerve activity: evidence from hand transplantation in humans.

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Clinica Medica, Dipartimento di Medicina, Clinica Prevenzione e Biotecnologie Sanitarie, Milano-Bicocca University, San Gerardo Hospital-Monza, Italy.


Studies in animals and humans suggest that sympathetic activity exerts a stiffening influence on large and middle-sized artery walls. We sought to obtain further evidence on this issue by measuring radial artery distensibility in an allotransplanted and thus denervated hand using the contralateral artery as control. In 2 men, blood pressure was measured by a semiautomatic device (Dinamap). Diastolic diameter, systo-diastolic diameter excursion (ultrasound Wall Track system), and distensibility (Reneman formula) of both radial arteries were measured at a level corresponding to 4 cm below the suture of the transplanted hand 40 days after surgery and every 4 weeks for the next 6 months. After surgery, systo-diastolic diameter excursion and distensibility were much greater in the transplanted radial artery than in the contralateral vessel, reaching values similar to the contralateral ones after 4 months, when signs of reinnervation of the transplanted hands had appeared. Radial deinnervation was accompanied by an increased arterial distensibility, which provides further evidence of the sympathetic stiffening effect on arterial wall in humans.

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