Heart failure depresses endothelium-dependent responses in canine femoral artery

Am J Physiol. 1989 Apr;256(4 Pt 2):H962-7. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.1989.256.4.H962.


Vascular responses to many physiological stresses are abnormal in heart failure. Increased peripheral resistance and a reduction in the vasodilator response to exercise and ischemia are examples of this abnormal vascular control. Such abnormal vascular control in heart failure is a result of interplay between neural, hormonal, and local vascular factors. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that a specific local mechanism, endothelium-dependent relaxation to acetylcholine (ACh), is depressed in experimental heart failure. Experiments were performed on 11 purebred beagles. Experimental heart failure was induced by rapid ventricular pacing for approximately 30 days. Femoral artery diameter was measured by sonomicrometry, and dose-response relationships to ACh, norepinephrine (NE), and nitroglycerin (NTG) were done before and after inhibition of cyclooxygenase by indomethacin. Heart failure resulted in a significant depression of ACh relaxation at all concentrations. In dogs with heart failure, indomethacin enhanced the dilation response to low concentrations of ACh. Constriction to NE and dilation to NTG were unchanged by heart failure. These data demonstrate that in the canine femoral artery endothelium-dependent dilation to ACh is depressed in experimental heart failure. Depression of endothelium-dependent vasodilation represents one local mechanism for abnormal control of the vasculature in congestive heart failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Femoral Artery / physiopathology*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Vasodilation / drug effects


  • Acetylcholine