Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and endothelial cells (ECs) are major cell types that control vascular function, and hence dysfunction of these cells plays a key role in the development and progression of vasculopathies. Abnormal vascular responsiveness to vasoactive substances including vasoconstrictors and vasodilators has been observed in various arteries in diseases including diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney diseases, and atherosclerosis. Several substances derived from ECs tightly control vascular function, such as endothelium-derived relaxing and contracting factors, and it is known that abnormal vascular signaling of these endothelium-derived substances is often observed in various diseases. Derangement of signaling in VSMCs and altered function influence vascular reactivity to vasoactive substances and tone, which are important determinants of vascular resistance and blood pressure. However, understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying abnormalities of vascular functions in pathological states is difficult because multiple substances interact in the development of these processes. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs), a heterogeneous group of bioactive compounds, are thought to contribute to vascular dysfunction, which in turn cause the development of several diseases including diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and atherosclerosis. A growing body of evidence suggests that AGEs could affect these cells and modulate vascular function. This study is focused on the link between AGEs and functions of ECs and VSMCs, particularly the modulative effects of AGEs on vascular reactivities to vasoactive substances.
Keywords: advanced glycation end products; contraction; endothelium; relaxation; vascular smooth muscle; vasoactive substance.