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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging

Title: Vitamins E and C - effects on matrix components in the vascular system

item Zingg, Jean-Marc -
item Meydani, Mohsen -
item Azzi, Angelo -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: June 26, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The connective tissue in the vascular system, consisting mainly of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and the interstitial extracellular matrix (ECM), plays important roles in the maintenance of an intact vascular wall as well as in the repair of atherosclerotic lesions during disease development. Whereas the differentiated VSMC in the normal vascular wall are resting and do not synthesize a lot of ECM, they start to migrate and proliferate upon injury, de-differentiate and synthesize connective tissue proteins involved in vascular remodeling as well as the maintenance of vascular wall integrity and repair. Vitamins E (alpha-tocopherol) and C (L-ascorbic acid) may influence the ECM by chemically reducing the formation of oxidized small molecules, proteins and lipids, which are possible causes for vascular injury and cellular de-regulation. In addition to their direct antioxidant effects, both vitamins may bind to specific enzymes and act as their co-factors and regulators with consequent modulation of VSMC signal transduction and gene expression and ECM production. Although a preventive effect of vitamin E and C against cardiovascular disease (CVD) is not universally accepted, the ability to influence VSMC proliferation, differentiation and ECM production may be central not only to the maintenance of an intact vascular wall but also in the repair of atherosclerotic lesions during disease development.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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