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Sympathetic Nervous System and Atherosclerosis

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posted on 2023-11-17, 02:55 authored by Yutang Wang, Jack Anesi, Michelle C Maier, Mark A Myers, Ernesto Oqueli, Christopher SobeyChristopher Sobey, Grant DrummondGrant Drummond, Kate M Denton
Atherosclerosis is characterized by the narrowing of the arterial lumen due to subendothelial lipid accumulation, with hypercholesterolemia being a major risk factor. Despite the recent advances in effective lipid-lowering therapies, atherosclerosis remains the leading cause of mortality globally, highlighting the need for additional therapeutic strategies. Accumulating evidence suggests that the sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in atherosclerosis. In this article, we reviewed the sympathetic innervation in the vasculature, norepinephrine synthesis and metabolism, sympathetic activity measurement, and common signaling pathways of sympathetic activation. The focus of this paper was to review the effectiveness of pharmacological antagonists or agonists of adrenoceptors (α1, α2, β1, β2, and β3) and renal denervation on atherosclerosis. All five types of adrenoceptors are present in arterial blood vessels. α1 blockers inhibit atherosclerosis but increase the risk of heart failure while α2 agonism may protect against atherosclerosis and newer generations of β blockers and β3 agonists are promising therapies against atherosclerosis; however, new randomized controlled trials are warranted to investigate the effectiveness of these therapies in atherosclerosis inhibition and cardiovascular risk reduction in the future. The role of renal denervation in atherosclerosis inhibition in humans is yet to be established.


This research was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, grant number 1062671.


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International Journal of Molecular Sciences





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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute



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© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (