Arterial stiffness, hypertension, and rational use of nebivolol
Enrico Agabiti-Rosei, Enzo Porteri, Damiano Rizzoni
Clinica Medica, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, University of Brescia, Italy
Abstract: Arterial stiffness plays a key role in the pathophysiology of the cardiovascular system. Some indices of arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity, augmentation index, characteristics of central blood pressure waveform) may be presently calculated and evaluated in the clinical setting. Age and blood pressure are the two major clinical determinants of increased arterial stiffness, while molecular determinants of arterial stiffness are related to fibrotic components of the extracellular matrix, mainly elastin, collagen and fibronectin. Increased arterial stiffness has been consistently observed in conditions such as hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes. Arterial stiffness evaluated by means of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity yielded prognostic significance beyond and above traditional risk factors. A more favorable effect of calcium channel blockers, diuretics and ACE inhibitors compared with β-blockers on indices of arterial stiffness was observed in several studies. It is conceivable that newer β-blockers with additional vasodilating properties, such as nebivolol, which has favorable effects on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, as well as on endothelial function and on oxidative stress, may have favorable effects on arterial stiffness, compared with atenolol. In fact, in recent studies, nebivolol was demonstrated to improve artery stiffness to a greater extent than older β-blockers. Because endothelial dysfunction and increased arterial stiffness play an important role in the early atherosclerotic processes and are associated with poor outcomes and increased mortality, independently of blood pressure, the ability of nebivolol to enhance release of endothelium-derived nitric oxide, and consequently improve endothelial function and arterial stiffness, may have significant clinical implications for the use of this agent in the treatment of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.
Keywords: arterial stiffness, hypertension, nebivolol
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