Cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer in the United States and many other countries. Each year, there are
enormous research efforts on its pathogenesis, prevention and treatment led by scientists worldwide. One of the most significant research
areas is the impact and mechanisms of existing or new cardiovascular risk factors on the vascular system. The current review provides the
most updated research advances in the area of the regulation of the endothelial nitric oxide synthase-nitric oxide (eNOS-NO) system by
several cardiovascular risk factors. There are many exciting discoveries made from the studies of several major cardiovascular risk factors
such as hypertension, cigarette smoking, dyslipidemia and diabetes mellitus as well as emerging risk factors such as HIV infection,
antiretroviral therapy, genomic variability, and cytokines. In general, cardiovascular risk factors could impair the eNOS-NO system with
a variety of molecular mechanisms including decrease in NO bioavailability by excess reactive oxygen species, inhibition of eNOS expression
and activity, and deficiency of eNOS cofactors. Special attention is paid to the impact of several new or emerging risk factors on
cardiovascular disease and the eNOS-NO system. These mechanistic studies are clinically significant because they may lead towards new
and effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: Cardiovascular risk factor, eNOS, endothelial dysfunction, nitric oxide, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease.
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