OBJECTIVES: We investigated whether the insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism in the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) gene modulates vasomotor tone and endothelial function. BACKGROUND: The deletion allele of the ACE I/D polymorphism has been associated with increased incidence of cardiovascular pathology. The risk is synergistically increased in patients who also possess the C allele at position 1,166 of the angiotensin type I (AT1) receptor gene. METHODS: In 177 patients with coronary atherosclerosis or its risk factors, we investigated endothelial function with intracoronary acetylcholine (ACH), endothelium-independent smooth muscle function with sodium nitroprusside (SNP) and basal nitric oxide activity with L-N(G) monomethyl arginine. RESULTS: Compared with ACE II genotype, patients with the ACE DD genotype had lower coronary microvascular and epicardial responses with SNP (coronary blood flow increase 196 ± 26% vs. 121 ± 11%, p = 0.003, and diameter increase 21.9 ± 2% vs. 17 ± 1%, p = 0.03, ACE II vs. DD, respectively). L-N(G) monomethyl arginine induced greater constriction in patients with the ACE DD compared with ACE II genotype (coronary blood flow -10 ± 4% vs. 11 ± 5%, p = 0.003, ACE DD vs. II and diameter constriction -6.3 ± 1.2% vs. -1.9 ± 1.2%, p = 0.01, respectively, in patients with atherosclerosis). No difference in ACH-mediated vasomotion was detected between the three ACE genotypes. The AT1 receptor polymorphism did not influence responses to either SNP or ACH. CONCLUSIONS: Patients possessing the D allele of the ACE gene have increased vascular smooth muscle tone. The enhanced tone appears to be counterbalanced by an increase in basal nitric oxide activity in patients with atherosclerosis. (C) 2000 by the American College of Cardiology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine