Hypomagnesemia and vasoconstriction: possible relationship to etiology of sudden death ischemic heart disease and hypertensive vascular diseases

Artery. 1981;9(3):212-31.


In-vitro experiments are presented which indicate that the concentration of extracellular magnesium ions ([Mg2+]o) can exert profound influences on the contractility and reactivity of arteries, arterioles and veins from a number of regional vasculatures in several mammalian species, including man. Hypomagnesemia can potentiate the contractile activity of a variety of neurohumoral substances and induce vasospasm. Hypermagnesemia can do the reverse, i.e., induce hyporeactivity, relaxation and vasodilatation. Data are also presented to indicate that [Mg2+]o can control the entry, distribution and exit of calcium ions (Ca2+) from vascular smooth muscle cells. Arterial and venous smooth muscles excised from rats with alloxan-diabetes mellitus or spontaneous hypertension (SHR) appear to exhibit vascular membranes which have modifications in their Mg-Ca exchange sites. Data are reviewed which suggest that certain vascular diseases (e.g., sudden-death ischemic heart disease, hypertension, eclampsia, diabetes mellitus) are associated with a Mg-deficiency. Overall, it is suggested that [Mg2+]o and membrane [Mg] may play critical roles in regulating vascular tone and homeostasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Hypertension / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Magnesium / metabolism
  • Magnesium Deficiency / complications*
  • Potassium / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Swine
  • Vasoconstriction / drug effects*


  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium