Up-regulation of endothelial nitric oxide activity as a central strategy for prevention of ischemic stroke – just say NO to stroke!
Sommaire de l'article
Nitric oxide (NO) produced by the endothelium of cerebral arterioles is an important mediator of endothelium-dependent vasodilation (EDV), and also helps to prevent thrombosis and vascular remodeling. A number of risk factors for ischemic stroke are associated with impaired EDV, and this defect is usually at least partially attributable to a decrease in the production and/or stability of NO. These risk factors include hypertension, high-sodium diets, homocysteine, diabetes, visceral obesity, and aging. Conversely, many measures which may provide protection from ischemic stroke – such as ample dietary intakes of potassium, arginine, fish oil, and selenium – can have a favorable impact on EDV. Protection afforded by exercise training, estrogen replacement, statin drugs, green tea polyphenols, and cruciferous vegetables may reflect increased expression of the endothelial NO synthase. IGF-I activity stimulates endothelial NO production, and conceivably is a mediator of the protection associated with higher-protein diets in Japanese epidemiology and in hypertensive rats. These considerations prompt the conclusion that modulation of NO availability is a crucial determinant of risk for ischemic stroke. Multifactorial strategies for promoting effective cerebrovascular NO activity, complemented by measures that stabilize platelets and moderate blood viscosity, should minimize risk for ischemic stroke and help maintain vigorous cerebral perfusion into ripe old age. The possibility that such measures will also diminish risk for Alzheimer's disease, and slow the normal age-related decline in mental acuity, merits consideration. A limited amount of ecologic epidemiology suggests that both stroke and senile dementia may be extremely rare in cultures still consuming traditional unsalted whole-food diets. Other lines of evidence suggest that promotion of endothelial NO activity may decrease risk for age-related macular degeneration.