ACE genotype and endothelium-dependent vasodilation of conduit arteries and forearm microcirculation in humans

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2001 Aug;21(8):1313-9. doi: 10.1161/hq0801.093508.


The ACE gene is a candidate gene for cardiovascular disease. Endothelial dysfunction is considered an intermediate phenotype in the pathogenesis of hypertension and atherosclerosis. We evaluated the role of ACE gene polymorphism in endothelial function of young healthy humans. We assessed ACE genotype (deletion [D]/insertion [I] polymorphism) in 92 young healthy individuals. In 88 of them, endothelium-dependent (flow-mediated) vasodilation and endothelium-independent (nitroglycerin-induced) vasodilation were measured in the common femoral artery and in the brachial (n=84) artery by echo Doppler technique. In 35 subjects, we also applied the forearm perfusion technique to quantify the responses of the forearm vascular bed to 3 increasing doses of 2 endothelium-dependent vasodilators (acetylcholine and bradykinin) and 1 endothelium-independent vasodilator (sodium nitroprusside). The D allele of the ACE gene was associated with a significant blunting (Delta approximately 26%) of endothelium-dependent vasodilation in the femoral artery (P=0.02) but not in the brachial artery (P=0.55) or in the forearm microcirculation (P=0.70 to 0.80). Endothelium-independent vasodilation was unaffected by the ACE genotype. In young healthy humans, the D allele of the ACE gene is associated with selective endothelial dysfunction of the femoral artery. It remains to be determined whether this association discloses a causal role in vascular, particularly peripheral artery, disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology
  • Adult
  • Brachial Artery / physiology
  • Bradykinin / pharmacology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics
  • Female
  • Femoral Artery / physiology
  • Forearm / blood supply
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microcirculation / physiology
  • Nitroprusside / pharmacology
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Vasodilation* / drug effects
  • Vasodilation* / genetics
  • Vasodilation* / physiology
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Nitroprusside
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • Acetylcholine
  • Bradykinin