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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Altered adrenergic responsiveness of endothelium-denuded hepatic arteries and portal veins in patients with cirrhosis.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Patients with cirrhosis are characterized by a reduced splanchnic vascular resistance and a hyporeactivity to adrenergic vasoconstrictors. So far, their adrenergic splanchnic vascular responsiveness has not been evaluated in vitro. We compared responses to alpha1- and beta2-adrenoceptor stimulation of hepatic arteries and portal veins of patients with cirrhosis undergoing transplantation with those of organ donors. METHODS: Isometric contractions of endothelium-denuded vessel rings were induced cumulatively by methoxamine and relaxations by isoproterenol. Results are expressed as percentage of the contraction obtained by 85 mmol/L KCl or of the relaxation obtained by 100 micromol/L papaverine, respectively. RESULTS: Maximal methoxamine-induced contractions were reduced in cirrhotic hepatic arteries (cirrhosis, 51.8% +/- 6.8%; donor, 89.9% +/- 6.6%; P < 0.01) and portal veins (cirrhosis, 49.2% +/- 6.4%; donor, 94.0% +/- 5.3%; P < 0.01). In cirrhosis, isoproterenol induced a less marked relaxation of hepatic arteries (cirrhosis, 46.6% +/- 3.2%; donor, 100.3% +/- 4.4%; P < 0. 01) but an increased relaxation of portal veins (cirrhosis, 41.9% +/- 6.2%; donor, 26.2% +/- 2.8%; P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: In cirrhosis, endothelium-free hepatic arteries are hyporeactive to alpha1- and beta2-adrenoceptor agonists, and portal veins are hyporeactive to alpha1- but hyperreactive to beta2-adrenoceptor agonists. These findings support the in vivo findings of a hyporesponsiveness to adrenergic vasoconstrictors in patients with cirrhosis.[1]


  1. Altered adrenergic responsiveness of endothelium-denuded hepatic arteries and portal veins in patients with cirrhosis. Heller, J., Schepke, M., Gehnen, N., Molderings, G.J., Müller, A., Erhard, J., Spengler, U., Sauerbruch, T. Gastroenterology (1999) [Pubmed]
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