06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

Alcohol has complex effects on the cardiovascular system. The purpose of this article is to review physio-pathological effects of alcohol on cardiovascular and related systems and to describe its role in hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The relationship between alcohol and hypertension is well known, and a reduction in the alcohol intake is widely recommended in the management of hypertension. Moreover, alcohol has both pressor and depressor actions. The latter actions are clear in Oriental subjects, especially in those who show alcohol flush because of the genetic variation in aldehyde dehydrogenase activity. Repeated alcohol intake in the evening causes an elevation in daytime and a reduction in nighttime blood pressure (BP), with little change in the average 24-h BP in Japanese men. Thus, the hypertensive effect of alcohol seems to be overestimated by the measurement of casual BP during the day. Heavy alcohol intake seems to increase the risk of several cardiovascular diseases, such as hemorrhagic stroke, arrhythmia and heart failure. On the other hand, alcohol may act to prevent atherosclerosis and to decrease the risk of ischemic heart disease, mainly by increasing HDL cholesterol and inhibiting thrombus formation. A J- or U-shaped relationship has been observed between the level of alcohol intake and risk of cardiovascular mortality and total mortality. It is reasonable to reduce the alcohol intake to less than 30 ml per day for men and 15 ml per day for women in the management of hypertension. As a small amount of alcohol seems to be beneficial, abstinence from alcohol is not recommended to prevent cardiovascular disease.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

OBJECTIVE: Red wine (RW) consumption has been associated with a reduction of cardiovascular events, but limited data are available on potential mediating mechanisms. This study tested the hypothesis that intake of RW may promote the circulating endothelial progenitor cell (EPC) level and function through enhancement of nitric oxide bioavailability.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Eighty healthy, young subjects were randomized and assigned to consume water (100 mL), RW (100 mL), beer (250 mL), or vodka (30 mL) daily for 3 weeks. Flow cytometry was used to quantify circulating EPC numbers, and in vitro assays were used to evaluate EPC functions. After RW ingestion, endothelial function determined by flow-mediated vasodilation was significantly enhanced; however, it remained unchanged after water, beer, or vodka intake. There were significantly increased numbers of circulating EPC (defined as KDR(+)CD133(+), CD34(+)CD133(+), CD34(+)KDR(+)) and EPC colony-forming units only in the RW group (all P<0.05). Only RW ingestion significantly enhanced plasma levels of nitric oxide and decreased asymmetrical dimethylarginine (both P<0.01). Incubation of EPC with RW (but not beer or ethanol) and resveratrol in vitro attenuated tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced EPC senescence and improved tumor necrosis factor-alpha-suppressed EPC functions and tube formation. Incubation with nitric oxide donor sodium nitroprusside significantly ameliorated the inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-alpha on EPC proliferation, but incubation with endothelial nitric oxide synthase inhibitor l-NAME and PI3K inhibitor markedly attenuated the effect of RW on EPC proliferation.

CONCLUSIONS: The intake of RW significantly enhanced circulating EPC levels and improved EPC functions by modifying nitric oxide bioavailability. These findings may help explain the beneficial effects of RW on the cardiovascular system. This study demonstrated that a moderate intake of RW can enhance circulating levels of EPC in healthy subjects by increasing nitric oxide availability. Direct incubation of EPC with RW and resveratrol can modify the functions of EPC, including attenuation of senescence and promotion of EPC adhesion, migration, and tube formation. These data suggest that RW ingestion may alter the biology of EPC, and these alterations may contribute to its unique cardiovascular-protective effect.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

A large number of investigations in experimental, clinical, and epidemiological settings have given support to the idea that consumption of moderate amounts of alcoholic beverages, particularly wine, protects against coronary heart disease (CHD). Biological effects of other components of wine in human beings, however, have been hardly demonstrated, and alcohol itself has several potential adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. Not all epidemiological surveys have found protection from alcoholic beverages and in African-Americans, alcohol consumption was a risk factor for the incidence of CHD. The possibility that the lower risk of drinkers of moderate amounts of wine or other beverages is secondary to a health cohort effect in whites is not negligible, and could be discarded only in a clinical trial. In view of the potential risks of alcohol, a more cautious view about the beneficial effects of alcoholic beverages is warranted.

06 May 2014 In Cardiovascular System

Alcohol has diverse effects on the cardiovascular system. Moderate drinking is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, yet increasing amounts of alcohol consumption are known to increase blood pressure. These opposing effects have led to interest in the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in patients with hypertension. To test the hypothesis that moderate alcohol consumption decreases the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in patients with hypertension, we used data on 5,164 participants in the Physicians' Health Study who were apparently healthy and free of CHD at baseline. Incident MI was ascertained by annual follow-up questionnaires and validated through review of medical records. Cox proportional hazard model was used to compute multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios with corresponding 95% confidence intervals. From 1982 to 2008, 623 cases of MI occurred. Compared to subjects consuming 8 drinks per week adjusted for age, body mass index, smoking, exercise, diabetes, multivitamin use, vegetable intake, breakfast cereal intake, and cholesterol (p for trend <0.0022). Similar inferences could be made for the secondary outcomes of angina pectoris and any CHD (which included MI, angina pectoris, and previous revascularization). In conclusion, our data demonstrated an inverse relation between moderate alcohol consumption and CHD in hypertensive men.

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