Scarce knowledge of vascular rare diseases, defined by prevalence lower than 1/2000, is accompanied by increased patients mis-management and impaired quality of life. Recent advances in clinical knowledge, molecular biology, and genetic evaluation of certain vascular rare diseases allows designing new management strategies. A tight coordinated collaboration between angiologists and other specialists is therefore necessary to optimize patient's care.
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a common disease with increasing prevalence, presenting with impaired walking ability affecting patient's quality of life. PAD epidemiology is known, however, mechanisms underlying functional muscle impairment remain unclear. Using a mouse PAD model, aim of this study was to assess muscle adaptive responses during early (1 week) and late (5 weeks) disease stages. Unilateral hindlimb ischemia was induced in ApoE(-/-) mice by iliac artery ligation. Ischemic limb perfusion and oxygenation (Laser Doppler imaging, transcutaneous oxygen pressure assessments) significantly decreased during early and late stage compared to pre-ischemia, however, values were significantly higher during late versus early phase. Number of arterioles and arteriogenesis-linked gene expression increased at later stage. Walking ability, evaluated by forced and voluntary walking tests, remained significantly decreased both at early and late phase without any significant improvement. Muscle glucose uptake ([18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography) significantly increased during early ischemia decreasing at later stage. Gene expression analysis showed significant shift in muscle M1/M2 macrophages and Th1/Th2 T cells balance toward pro-inflammatory phenotype during early ischemia; later, inflammatory state returned to neutrality. Muscular M1/M2 shift inhibition by a statin prevented impaired walking ability in early ischemia. High-energy phosphate metabolism remained unchanged (31-Phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy). Results show that rapid transient muscular inflammation contributes to impaired walking capacity while increased glucose uptake may be a compensatory mechanisms preserving immediate limb viability during early ischemia in a mouse PAD model. With time, increased ischemic limb perfusion and oxygenation assure muscle viability although not sufficiently to improve walking impairment. Subsequent decreased muscle glucose uptake may partly contribute to chronic walking impairment. Early inflammation inhibition and/or late muscle glucose impairment prevention are promising strategies for PAD management.
Although rare, popliteal artery aneurysms are the most common peripheral aneurysms and are frequently associated with abdominal aorta aneurysms. They are often bilateral. One third of patients are asymptomatic at diagnosis, with an insidious evolution. Symptomatic patients may present with symptoms of either acute ischemia or chronic ischemia, or rarely compression or rupture. Surgical exclusion of aneurysm followed by venous bypass remains the treatment of choice. Endovascular treatment is an attractive alternative currently reserved for patients at high risk, with good anatomical criteria. Elective treatment before symptoms onset is preferable given the best results in terms of patency and complications. A conservative approach is allowed for small aneurysms without major embolic risk provided careful monitoring by ultrasound.
The aim of this study was to investigate influence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) and subclinical atherosclerosis (ATS) burden on early stages of abdominal aortic diameter (AAD) widening among adults. 2,052 consecutive patients (P) (39 % women), mean age 52 ± 13 years, were prospectively screened for CVRF, ATS, and AAD. B-mode ultrasound was used to evaluate the largest AAD and to detect carotid and femoral atherosclerotic plaques. Mean AAD was 15.2 ± 2.8 mm. Atherosclerotic plaques were detected in 71 % of patients. Significant univariate correlation between AAD, traditional CVRF, and ABS was found. However, multiple regression analysis showed that only seven of them were significantly and weakly correlated with AAD (R² = 0.27, p < 0.001). On the other hand, a multivariate logistic analysis was used to evaluate CVRF impact on enlarged AAD ?25 mm (EAAD) as compared to those with AAD <25 mm. These factors did not account for more than 30 % of interaction (R² = 0.30, p = 0.001). Furthermore, despite a large proportion of patients with high number of CVRF, and subclinical ATS, rate of patients with AAD ?25 mm was low (1 %) and scattered regardless their CHD risk score or ATS burden. In conclusion, these results suggest that although some traditional CVRF and presence of ATS are associated with early stages of EAAD, other determinants still need to be identified for a better understanding of abdominal aortic aneurysm pathogenesis.
Connexin36 (Cx36), a trans-membrane protein that forms gap junctions between insulin-secreting beta-cells in the Langerhans islets, contributes to the proper control of insulin secretion and beta-cell survival. Hypercholesterolemia and pro-atherogenic low density lipoproteins (LDL) contribute to beta-cell dysfunction and apoptosis in the context of Type 2 diabetes. We investigated the impact of LDL-cholesterol on Cx36 levels in beta-cells. As compared to WT mice, the Cx36 content was reduced in islets from hypercholesterolemic ApoE-/- mice. Prolonged exposure to human native (nLDL) or oxidized LDL (oxLDL) particles decreased the expression of Cx36 in insulin secreting cell-lines and isolated rodent islets. Cx36 down-regulation was associated with overexpression of the inducible cAMP early repressor (ICER-1) and the selective disruption of ICER-1 prevented the effects of oxLDL on Cx36 expression. Oil red O staining and Plin1 expression levels suggested that oxLDL were less stored as neutral lipid droplets than nLDL in INS-1E cells. The lipid beta-oxidation inhibitor etomoxir enhanced oxLDL-induced apoptosis whereas the ceramide synthesis inhibitor myriocin partially protected INS-1E cells, suggesting that oxLDL toxicity was due to impaired metabolism of the lipids. ICER-1 and Cx36 expressions were closely correlated with oxLDL toxicity. Cx36 knock-down in INS-1E cells or knock-out in primary islets sensitized beta-cells to oxLDL-induced apoptosis. In contrast, overexpression of Cx36 partially protected INS-1E cells against apoptosis. These data demonstrate that the reduction of Cx36 content in beta-cells by oxLDL particles is mediated by ICER-1 and contributes to oxLDL-induced beta-cell apoptosis.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is common and has a high impact on morbidity, mortality, and costs of care. Although most of the patients with VTE are aged ?65 years, there is little data about the medical outcomes in the elderly with VTE. The Swiss Cohort of Elderly Patients with VTE (SWITCO65+) is a prospective multicenter cohort study of in- and outpatients aged ?65 years with acute VTE from all five Swiss university and four high-volume non-university hospitals. The goal is to examine which clinical and biological factors and processes of care drive short- and long-term medical outcomes, health-related quality of life, and medical resource utilization in elderly patients with acute VTE. The cohort also includes a large biobank with biological material from each participant. From September 2009 to March 2012, 1,863 elderly patients with VTE were screened and 1003 (53.8%) were enrolled in the cohort. Overall, 51.7% of patients were aged ?75 years and 52.7% were men. By October 16, 2012, after an average follow-up time of 512 days, 799 (79.7%) patients were still actively participating. SWITCO65+ is a unique opportunity to study short- and long-term outcomes in elderly patients with VTE. The Steering Committee encourages national and international collaborative research projects related to SWITCO65+, including sharing anonymized data and biological samples.
Molecular mechanisms by which exercise exerts cardiovascular benefits are poorly understood. Exercise-induced increase of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation through the protein kinase Akt has been shown to be a key mechanism underlying the beneficial effect of exercise in coronary artery disease patients. We examined whether this protective pathway might also be activated in long-term-exercised healthy mice. C57BL/6 wild-type mice swam for 24 weeks. A group of sedentary animals were used as controls. Aortic levels of total protein kinase Akt (protein kinase B), phosphorylated Akt at ser473 (p-Akt), total eNOS, phosphorylated eNOS at Ser1177 (p-eNOS), and PECAM-1 (platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1) were assessed by Western blotting. Protein expressions of Akt, p-Akt, eNOS, p-eNOS, and PECAM-1 were not modulated by 24 weeks of exercise. The Akt-dependent eNOS phosphorylation did not seem to be a primary molecular adaptation in response to long-term exercise in healthy mice.
Positron emission tomography (PET) during the cold pressor test (CPT) has been used to assess endothelium-dependent coronary vasoreactivity, a surrogate marker of cardiovascular events. However, its use remains limited by cardiac PET availability. As multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) is more widely available, we aimed to develop a measurement of endothelium-dependent coronary vasoreactivity with MDCT and similar radiation burden as with PET.
Use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) is increasing in many developed countries. Arterial and venous thromboembolic complications are reported during ART with an incidence of 0.1%. The development of these events has been mainly ascribed to the presence of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Precise mechanisms by which OHSS and exogenous hormonal stimulation used in ART induce thromboembolic events remain unclear. However, vascular endothelial growth factor secreted during OHSS, high estradiol concentrations, and blood hyperviscosity play a major role in inducing a prothrombotic state. Therefore, before planning an ART, individual thromboembolic risk should be assessed and thromboprophylaxis offered to high risk patients. Prophylaxis should be initiated in women who develop moderate-to-severe OHSS.
The original and modified Wells score are widely used prediction rules for pre-test probability assessment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The objective of this study was to compare the predictive performance of both Wells scores in unselected patients with clinical suspicion of DVT.
Intermittent claudication (IC) is the most common clinical manifestation of atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease. Exercise training plays a major role in treating patients with IC. Regular exercise increases functional walking capacity, reduces cardiovascular mortality and improves quality of life. This seems to be achieved by: favorable effect on cardiovascular risk factors, anti-inflammatory effect, increased collateral blood flux, improved rheology profile, endothelial function, fibrinolysis, and muscular metabolism. However, exact mechanisms underlying beneficial effect of exercise remain largely unknown. Exercise modalities will be discussed in this article.
Connexins (Cxs) play a role in the contractility of the aorta wall. We investigated how connexins of the endothelial cells (ECs; Cx37, Cx40) and smooth muscle cells (SMCs; Cx43, Cx45) of the aorta change during renin-dependent and -independent hypertension.
Pulmonary embolism (PE) is traditionally treated in hospital. Growing evidence from non randomized prospective studies suggests that a substantial proportion of patients with non-massive PE might be safely treated in the outpatient setting using low molecular weight heparins. Based on this evidence, professional societies started to recommend outpatient care for selected patients with non-massive PE. Despite these recommendations, outpatient treatment of non-massive PE appears to be uncommon in clinical practice. The major barriers to PE outpatient care are, firstly, the uncertainty as how to identify low risk patients with PE who are candidates for outpatient care and secondly the lack of high quality evidence from randomized trials demonstrating the safety of PE outpatient care compared to traditional inpatient management. Also, although clinical prognostic models, echocardiography and cardiac biomarkers accurately identify low risk patients with PE in prospective studies, the benefit of risk stratification strategies based on these instruments should be demonstrated in prospective management studies and clinical trials before they can be implemented as decision aids to guide PE outpatient treatment. Before high quality evidence documenting the safety of an outpatient treatment approach is published, outpatient management of non-massive PE cannot be generally recommended.
Exercise is known to reduce cardiovascular mortality. However, the precise mechanisms are still unknown. Because atherosclerotic plaque destabilization and rupture leads to dramatic cardiovascular events, stabilization of plaque might be regarded as an important goal of an exercise preventive therapy. The present study examined the plaque-stabilizing effect of long-term exercise in experimental atherosclerosis using apolipoprotein E-deficient mice (ApoE(-/-)).
Here, we describe a case of an HIV-infected patient with right lower limb oedema that appeared after initiation of tenofovir and emtricitabine treatment. The patient was fully investigated by serial heart and vessel echo-Doppler examination. Oedema of the lower limb was attributed to a transient drug-induced fivefold increase in peripheral artery flow, which was induced by a reduction in peripheral arterial resistance. The possible mechanisms of disease are discussed.
A hallmark of Fabry disease is the concomitant development of left-ventricular hypertrophy and arterial intima-media thickening, the pathogenesis of which is thought to be related to the presence of a plasmatic circulating growth-promoting factor. We therefore characterized the plasma of patients with Fabry disease in order to identify this factor.
Cx40-deficient mice (Cx40-/-) are hypertensive due to increased renin secretion. We evaluated the renal expression of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and cyclooxygenases COX-1 and COX-2, three macula densa enzymes. The levels of nNOS were increased in kidneys of Cx40-/- mice, as well as in those of wild-type (WT) mice subjected to the two-kidney one-clip model of hypertension. In contrast, the levels of COX-2 expression were only increased in the hypoperfused kidney of Cx40-/- mice. Treatment with indomethacin lowered blood pressure and renin mRNA in Cx40-/- mice without affecting renin levels, indicating that changes in COX-2 do not cause the altered secretion of renin. Suppression of NOS activity by N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) decreased renin levels in Cx40-/- animals, indicating that NO regulates renin expression in the absence of Cx40. Treatment with candesartan normalized blood pressure in Cx40-/- mice, and decreased the levels of both COX-2 and nNOS. After a treatment combining candesartan and L-NAME, the blood pressure of Cx40-/- mice was higher than that of WT mice, showing that NO may counterbalance the vasoconstrictor effects of angiotensin II in Cx40-/- mice. These data document that renal COX-2 and nNOS are differentially regulated due to the elevation of renin-dependent blood pressure in mice lacking Cx40.
Exercise is known to reduce cardiovascular risk. However, its role on atherosclerotic plaque stabilization is unknown. Apolipoprotein E(-/-) mice with vulnerable (2-kidney, 1-clip: angiotensin [Ang] II-dependent hypertension model) or stable atherosclerotic plaques (1-kidney, 1-clip: Ang II-independent hypertension model and normotensive shams) were used for experiments. Mice swam regularly for 5 weeks and were compared with sedentary controls. Exercised 2-kidney, 1-clip mice developed significantly more stable plaques (thinner fibrous cap, decreased media degeneration, layering, macrophage content, and increased smooth muscle cells) than sedentary controls. Exercise did not affect blood pressure. Conversely, swimming significantly reduced aortic Ang II type 1 receptor mRNA levels, whereas Ang II type 2 receptor expression remained unaffected. Sympathetic tone also significantly diminished in exercised 2-kidney, 1-clip mice compared with sedentary ones; renin and aldosterone levels tended to increase. Ang II type 1 downregulation was not accompanied by improved endothelial function, and no difference in balance among T-helper 1, T-helper 2, and T regulatory cells was observed between sedentary and exercised mice. These results show for the first time, in a mouse model of Ang II-mediated vulnerable plaques, that swimming prevents atherosclerosis progression and plaque vulnerability. This benefit is likely mediated by downregulating aortic Ang II type 1 receptor expression independent from any hemodynamic change. Ang II type 1 downregulation may protect the vessel wall from the Ang II proatherogenic effects. Moreover, data presented herein further emphasize the pivotal and blood pressure-independent role of Ang II in atherogenesis.
Telmisartan is an angiotensin II receptor blocker with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma agonistic properties. Telmisartan prevents weight gain and decreases food intake in models of obesity and in glitazone-treated rodents. This study further investigates the influence of telmisartan and pioglitazone and their association on weight gain and body composition by examining their influence on neuroendocrine mediators involved in food intake. Male C57/Black 6 mice were fed a high-fat diet, weight matched, and randomized in 4 treatment groups: vehicle, pioglitazone, telmisartan, and pioglitazone-telmisartan. Weight gain, food and water intake, body composition, plasma leptin levels, and the hypothalamic expression of neuroendocrine mediators were analyzed. Additional studies were performed with irbesartan and in angiotensin II 1(A) receptor-knockout mice. Telmisartan abolished weight and fat gain in vehicle- and pioglitazone-treated mice while decreasing food intake, the hypothalamic expression of the agouti-related protein, and plasma leptin levels. Modifications in neuropeptide Y and proopiomelanocortin were not consistent with changes in food intake. The effects on weight gain and expression of the agouti-related protein were intermediate with irbesartan. The effects of telmisartan on weight gain were even more pronounced in angiotensin II 1(A) receptor-knockout mice. This study confirms the anorexigenic effects of telmisartan in mice fed a high-fat diet and suggests for the first time a functional role of telmisartan on hypothalamic orexigenic agouti-related protein regulation. These anorexigenic properties abolish both weight gain and body composition modifications in fat-fed and glitazone-treated mice. The anorexigenic properties are independent from the angiotensin II 1(A) receptor.
Venous thromboembolic (VTE) disease is frequent and questions regarding its treatment or prevention are numerous. This review is aimed at summarizing and pointing out the novelties on VTE treatment and prevention recently published in the Chest journal earlier this year (8th edition of ACCP guidelines). Generally, the aim of guidelines and of this review as well, is to offer guidance to practictioners in making the most appropriate choice for treating or preventing VTE. They are not intended for strict application and doctors will always have to decide individually case by case taking into account patients preference and the risk-benefit balance.
Atherosclerotic peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is often asymptomatic. If symptomatic, patients present intermittent claudication, ischemic rest pain or tissue necrosis. The prevalence of PAD increases with age and affects about 2% of patients at 60 years. Patients with PAD have an increased risk of coronary or cerebro-vascular events. Measure of the ankle-brachial index (ABI) allows early detection of asymptomatic patients, and allows early preventive interventions, in order to reduce their cardio-vascular risk. The most important interventions are smoking cessation, normalisation of blood pressure and lipid levels, and introduction of an antiplatelet agent, such as aspirin 75 to 160 mg/d.
Everything must be done to prevent and take care of lymphoedema as soon as possible to avoid its progression and its negative impact on patients psychology and quality of life. The physical limitations and the socio-occupational incidence of lymphoedema must not be neglected. For theses reasons, it is important to promote the education of lymphology and its therapy. Since April 2008, the service of angiology of our university hospital (CHUV) has developed a multidisciplinary consultation for diagnosing and managing oedemas particularly primary and secondary lymphoedemas.
The number of patients treated by haemodialysis (HD) is continuously increasing. The complications associated with vascular accesses represent the first cause of hospitalisation in these patients. Since 2001 nephrologists, surgeons, angiologists and radiologists at the CHUV are working to develop a multidisciplinary model that includes planning and monitoring of HD accesses. In this setting the echo-Doppler represents an important tool of investigation. Every patient is discussed and decisions are taken during a weekly multidisciplinary meeting. A network has been created with nephrologists of peripheral centres and other specialists. This model allows to centralize investigational information and coordinate patient care while keeping and even developing some investigational activities and treatment in peripheral centres.
Postmenopausal women are at greater risk for hypertension-related cardiovascular disease. Antihypertensive therapy may help alleviate arterial stiffness that represents a potential modifiable risk factor of hypertension. This randomized controlled study investigated the difference between an angiotensin receptor blocker and a calcium channel blocker in reducing arterial stiffness. Overall, 125 postmenopausal hypertensive women (age, 61.4 ± 6 years; systolic blood pressure/diastolic blood pressure [SBP/DBP], 158 ± 11/92 ± 9 mm Hg) were randomized to valsartan 320 mg ± hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) (n = 63) or amlodipine 10 mg ± HCTZ (n = 62). The primary outcome was carotid-to-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) changes after 38 weeks of treatment. Both treatments lowered peripheral blood pressure (BP) (-22.9/-10.9 mm Hg for valsartan and -25.2/-11.7 mm Hg for amlodipine, P = not significant) and central BP (-15.7/-7.6 mm Hg for valsartan and -19.2/-10.3 mm Hg for amlodipine, P<.05 for central DBP). Both treatments similarly reduced the carotid-femoral PWV (-1.9 vs -1.7 m/s; P = not significant). Amlodipine was associated with a higher incidence of peripheral edema compared with the valsartan group (77% vs 14%, P<.001). BP lowering in postmenopausal women led to a reduction in arterial stiffness as assessed by PWV measurement. Both regimens reduced PWV to a similar degree after 38 weeks of treatment despite differences in central BP lowering, suggesting that the effect of valsartan on PWV is mediated through nonhemodynamic effects.
It is known that hypertension is associated with endothelial dysfunction and that Angiotensin II (Ang II) is a key player in the pathogenesis of hypertension. We aimed to elucidate whether endothelial dysfunction is a specific feature of Ang II-mediated hypertension or a common finding of hypertension, independently of underlying etiology. We studied endothelial-dependent vasorelaxation in precapillary resistance arterioles and in various large-caliber conductance arteries in wild-type mice with Ang II-dependent hypertension (2-kidney 1-clip (2K1C) model) or Ang II-independent (volume overload) hypertension (1-kidney 1-clip model (1K1C)). Normotensive sham mice were used as controls. Aortic mechanical properties were also evaluated. Intravital microscopy of precapillary arterioles revealed a significantly impaired endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in 2K1C mice compared with sham mice, as quantified by the ratio of acetylcholine (ACh)-induced over S-nitroso-N-acetyl-D,L-penicillamine (SNAP)-induced vasorelaxation (2K1C: 0.49±0.12 vs. sham: 0.87±0.11, P=0.018). In contrast, the ACh/SNAP ratio in volume-overload hypertension 1K1C mice was not significantly different from sham mice, indicating no specific endothelial dysfunction (1K1C: 0.77±0.27 vs. sham: 0.87±0.11, P=0.138). Mechanical aortic wall properties and endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation, assessed ex vivo in rings of large-caliber conductance (abdominal and thoracic aorta, carotid and femoral arteries), were not different between 2K1C, 1K1C and sham mice. Endothelial dysfunction is an early feature of Ang II- but not volume-overload-mediated hypertension. This occurs exclusively at the level of precapillary arterioles and not in conduit arteries. Our findings, if confirmed in clinical studies, will provide a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of hypertension.
To evaluate the effect of statins on the annual expansion rate (ER) of small infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA).
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