University of Sussex

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Ethnic differences in skin microvascular function and their relation to cardiac target-organ damage

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-10, 04:38 authored by WD Strain, N Chaturvedi, S Leggetter, P Nihoyannopoulos, Chakravarthi RajkumarChakravarthi Rajkumar, CJ Bulpitt, AC Shore
Background: People of Black African descent have increased risks of vascular target-organ damage not explained by greater blood pressures. Objective: To study ethnic differences in the microvasculature. Design and methods: Flow (flux) in microcirculatory skin vessels was assessed using laser Doppler fluximetry in 181 Afro-Caribbean and European men and women aged 40-65 years from the general population in London, UK. Flux in response to maximal heating (maximal hyperaemic response) was measured and minimum vascular resistance calculated. Peak flux and time to peak after an ischaemic stimulus were also measured. Target-organ damage was assessed using echocardiographic interventricular septal thickness (IVST). Results: In men, maximum hyperaemic response was attenuated in Afro-Caribbeans [109 arbitrary units (au), 25th and 75th percentiles 101, 117] compared with Europeans [165 (155, 179) au; P = 0.008]. Minimum vascular resistance was greater in Afro-Caribbeans, significantly so in men [(1.22 (1.18, 1.28) au/mmHg compared with 0.80 (0.77, 0.83) au/mmHg; P = 0.006]. Peak ischaemic response was attenuated in Afro-Caribbean men and women compared with Europeans (35.6 au compared with 49.5 au; P < 0.001) and time to peak was prolonged (14.1 s compared with 12.5 s; P = 0.07). These ethnic differences could not be accounted for by standard cardiovascular risk factors. IVST was greater in Afro-Caribbeans than in Europeans. Minimum vascular resistance and peak response accounted for a small proportion of this ethnic difference, in addition to conventional factors. Conclusions: Afro-Caribbeans have poorer microvascular structure and function, unexplained by conventional risk factors, which may contribute to greater rates of vascular target-organ damage. © 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


Publication status

  • Published


Journal of Hypertension




Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)





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  • Clinical and Experimental Medicine Publications

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