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Concept: Vasoconstriction


Background Vasodilatory shock that does not respond to high-dose vasopressors is associated with high mortality. We investigated the effectiveness of angiotensin II for the treatment of patients with this condition. Methods We randomly assigned patients with vasodilatory shock who were receiving more than 0.2 μg of norepinephrine per kilogram of body weight per minute or the equivalent dose of another vasopressor to receive infusions of either angiotensin II or placebo. The primary end point was a response with respect to mean arterial pressure at hour 3 after the start of infusion, with response defined as an increase from baseline of at least 10 mm Hg or an increase to at least 75 mm Hg, without an increase in the dose of background vasopressors. Results A total of 344 patients were assigned to one of the two regimens; 321 received a study intervention (163 received angiotensin II, and 158 received placebo) and were included in the analysis. The primary end point was reached by more patients in the angiotensin II group (114 of 163 patients, 69.9%) than in the placebo group (37 of 158 patients, 23.4%) (odds ratio, 7.95; 95% confidence interval [CI], 4.76 to 13.3; P<0.001). At 48 hours, the mean improvement in the cardiovascular Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score (scores range from 0 to 4, with higher scores indicating more severe dysfunction) was greater in the angiotensin II group than in the placebo group (-1.75 vs. -1.28, P=0.01). Serious adverse events were reported in 60.7% of the patients in the angiotensin II group and in 67.1% in the placebo group. Death by day 28 occurred in 75 of 163 patients (46%) in the angiotensin II group and in 85 of 158 patients (54%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.57 to 1.07; P=0.12). Conclusions Angiotensin II effectively increased blood pressure in patients with vasodilatory shock that did not respond to high doses of conventional vasopressors. (Funded by La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company; ATHOS-3 number, NCT02338843 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Blood, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Cardiovascular system, Renin-angiotensin system, Vasoconstriction, Hypotension


The recent discovery of bile acid (BA) receptors and a better delineation of the multiple roles of BAs in relevant biological processes have revamped BA research. The vasoactive actions of BAs were recognized more than three decades ago but the underlying mechanisms of the BA-induced vasorelaxation are now being clarified. Recent evidence shows that the BA receptors FXR and TGR5 are expressed in endothelial cells and may have important effects on both systemic and portal circulation. The availability of genetically engineered mice with ablation of BA receptors and the development of BA receptor agonists has allowed to explore the modulation of XR and, in a lesser extent, of TGR5 in the setting of portal hypertension (PHT) with promising results. In this review, we summarize recent data on how BA-dependent pathways influence several processes that impact in PHT and the preclinical data showing that pharmacological modulation of those pathways may hold promise in the treatment of PHT.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Receptor antagonist, Cardiovascular system, Serotonin, Steroid, Inverse agonist, Vasoconstriction


Vasopressors and inotropes remain a cornerstone in stabilization of the severely impaired hemodynamics and cardiac output in cardiogenic shock (CS). The aim of this study was to analyze current real-life use of these medications, and their impact on outcome and on changes in cardiac and renal biomarkers over time in CS.

Concepts: Cardiology, Heart, Shock, Cardiac arrest, Organ, Circulatory system, Vasoconstriction, Cardiogenic shock


Postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is defined by a heart rate increment of 30 beats/min or more within 10 minutes of standing or head-up tilt in the absence of orthostatic hypotension; the standing heart rate is often 120 beats/min or higher. POTS manifests with symptoms of cerebral hypoperfusion and excessive sympathoexcitation. The pathophysiology of POTS is heterogeneous and includes impaired sympathetically mediated vasoconstriction, excessive sympathetic drive, volume dysregulation, and deconditioning. POTS is frequently included in the differential diagnosis of chronic unexplained symptoms, such as inappropriate sinus tachycardia, chronic fatigue, chronic dizziness, or unexplained spells in otherwise healthy young individuals. Many patients with POTS also report symptoms not attributable to orthostatic intolerance, including those of functional gastrointestinal or bladder disorders, chronic headache, fibromyalgia, and sleep disturbances. In many of these cases, cognitive and behavioral factors, somatic hypervigilance associated with anxiety, depression, and behavioral amplification contribute to symptom chronicity. The aims of evaluation in patients with POTS are to exclude cardiac causes of inappropriate tachycardia; elucidate, if possible, the most likely pathophysiologic basis of postural intolerance; assess for the presence of treatable autonomic neuropathies; exclude endocrine causes of a hyperadrenergic state; evaluate for cardiovascular deconditioning; and determine the contribution of emotional and behavioral factors to the patient’s symptoms. Management of POTS includes avoidance of precipitating factors, volume expansion, physical countermaneuvers, exercise training, pharmacotherapy (fludrocortisone, midodrine, β-blockers, and/or pyridostigmine), and behavioral-cognitive therapy. A literature search of PubMed for articles published from January 1, 1990, to June 15, 2012, was performed using the following terms (or combination of terms): POTS; postural tachycardia syndrome, orthostatic; orthostatic; syncope; sympathetic; baroreceptors; vestibulosympathetic; hypovolemia; visceral pain; chronic fatigue; deconditioning; headache; Chiari malformation; Ehlers-Danlos; emotion; amygdala; insula; anterior cingulate; periaqueductal gray; fludrocortisone; midodrine; propranolol; β-adrenergic; and pyridostigmine. Studies were limited to those published in English. Other articles were identified from bibliographies of the retrieved articles.

Concepts: Hypertension, Cardiology, Orthostatic hypotension, Vasoconstriction, Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Arnold-Chiari malformation, Orthostatic intolerance


Selepressin is a new selective vasopressin V1a agonist for treatment of vasodilatory hypotension in shock. Its effect on coronary and aortic blood flow, hemodynamics, and electrocardiogram as an indication of drug safety in healthy dogs were compared with arginine vasopressin (AVP). Eight dogs were fasted, anesthetized, intubated, and ventilated. Following thoracotomy, coronary and aortic blood flows were monitored, left ventricular and peripheral arterial blood pressures were measured, and ECG was recorded. Selepressin or AVP were administered by dose-escalating infusions (1-300, 0.3-100 ng kg min, respectively). Drug formulation analysis and plasma bioanalysis confirmed exposure. For each dose level, hemodynamic parameters, drug potency, and efficacy were determined. Selepressin and AVP induced a similar increase in mean blood pressure (+13-18%), a moderate decrease in aortic blood flow (-40-45%), and a slight decrease in coronary blood flow (-16-22%). These vasopressors displayed similar hemodynamic characteristics, with peripheral vasoconstriction and decreased aortic blood flow being more pronounced than the increase in coronary resistance and decrease in coronary blood flow. Importantly, selepressin bore no relevant coronary ischemic liability, suggesting that V1a receptor agonists are a potential pharmacological target for treatment of vasodilatory hypotension in shock.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Shock, Receptor antagonist, Agonist, Vasoconstriction, Hypotension


: The leakage of plasma during febrile episodes in dengue-infected patients is a severe condition leading to dengue shock syndrome. Alteration of cytokines/chemokines is suspected to be a major cause of endothelial cell damage in these patients. The study was designed to demonstrate the alteration of cytokines and chemokines in dengue-infected patients during febrile episodes.

Concepts: Inflammation, Malaria, Cell biology, Aspirin, Fever, Dengue fever, Vasoconstriction, Viral hemorrhagic fever


Catecholamine-resistant hypotension (CRH) is characterised by inadequate response to standard doses of vasopressors, and increased mortality. Our Angiotensin II for the Treatment of High-Output Shock 3 (ATHOS-3) trial compares the efficacy and safety of angiotensin II (ANGII) versus placebo in CRH.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial, Blood pressure, Shock, Vasopressin, Vasoconstriction, Hypotension


Marinobufagenin (MBG), a steroid compound belonging to the bufadienolide cardiac inotropes, is a molecule enjoying a growing interest in the early diagnostic of volume expansion-mediated hypertensive states. This endogenous mammalian cardiotonic and natriuretic bufadienolide (characterized by vasoconstrictive activities) inhibits the α1 isoform of Na+,K+-ATPase, implicating it in series of pathophysiological circumstances such as volume-expansion, essential hypertension and preeclampsia. Indeed, the enhanced production of MBG in preeclamptic patients has been confirmed in several studies, leading us to consider MBG as a biomarker for preeclampsia. The main source for MBG is located in the parotid and skin gland secretions of the toad Bufo Marinus in which MBG is the major steroid cardiotonic component. This review emphasizes the key role of analytical development for dosage methods of MBG in biofluids, in the emergence of future perspectives in the diagnostic and therapeutic fields of preeclampsia (e.g. to investigate the biosynthetic origin of MBG and to better understand its implications).

Concepts: Hypertension, Blood pressure, Skin, Gland, Vasoconstriction, Pre-eclampsia, Essential hypertension, Bufo


The effects of both chronic hypoxia and acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH) on cardiovascular system are unclear. We designed this study to develop a rabbit model of hypertension by exposure to chronic hypobaric hypoxia (CHH) and to investigate the effects of AIH on hypertensive rabbits. Present study was performed in 13 albino rabbits that divided into CHH and control groups. To develop hypertension, the rabbits were placed in a hypobaric chamber (390 mmHg; 22 hours/day, 30 days). Afterwards, AIH protocol was applied (8% FIO2 (Fraction of Inspired Oxygen) 1 min + 5 min normoxia, 20 cycles, 2 hours) to rabbits anesthetized with urethane and alpha-chloralose. Mean arterial pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR) and hematocrit values have been determined. Also asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), endothelin-1 and norepinephrine values have been analyzed in blood. We developed a model of hypertension in rabbits via exposure to severe CHH and we believe that ADMA is an important parameter in the development and permanence of CHH-induced hypertension. The main finding of this sudy was the depressor effect of AIH on blood pressure and heart rate in CHH- induced hypertension model. Finally, we believe that AIH protocol may be applicable for prevention and treatment of hypertension if properly developed.

Concepts: Blood, Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, Heart, Blood pressure, Endothelium, Cardiovascular system, Vasoconstriction


Pulmonary Arterial hypertension (PAH) is a chronic and progressive disease characterized by an increase in pulmonary vascular resistance due to severe remodeling of the small pulmonary arteries. In PAH, the endothelial cells fail to maintain their homeostatic balance, with the consequent impaired production of vasodilators and over-expression of vasoconstrictors and proliferators. Current treatment of PAH is based on the discovery of three main pathways of endothelial dysfunction (prostacyclin, nitric oxide and endothelin-1), and includes drugs such as prostacyclin analogs, phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors and endothelin receptor antagonists (ERAs). Recently approved drugs that act through these classic pathways include riociguat (cyclic GMP stimulator) and macitentan (a tissue specific dual ERA). However, several new drugs and new pathways are under study. New targeted therapies include tyrosine kinase inhibitors, Rho kinase inhibitors and serotonin receptor blockers. There are now ten drugs approved for the treatment of PAH that, alone or in combination, have changed the natural history of this disease. The new drugs will allow us to further modified the patients' life expectancy and move towards a cure.

Concepts: Signal transduction, Atherosclerosis, Heart, Nitric oxide, Vasodilation, Pulmonary hypertension, Vasoconstriction, Endothelin