The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that enhanced intracellular calcium signalling and increased sodium/lithium countertransport (Na+/Li+ CT) activity may be associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) in non-diabetic patients with essential hypertension. Platelet-activating factor (PAF)-evoked rises in the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i) were measured in Epstein–Barr-virus-immortalized lymphoblasts from 62 hypertensive patients with CHD and 34 patients without CHD. Na+/Li+ CT activity was assessed in erythrocytes from 80 hypertensive patients with CHD and 46 patients without CHD. Baseline values of unstimulated and PAF-stimulated [Ca2+]i were not significantly different between hypertensive subjects with (baseline, 126±5nmol/l; stimulated, 550±43nmol/l) and without (baseline, 125±5nmol/l; stimulated, 654±105nmol/l) CHD. Similarly, Na+/Li+ CT activity was not significantly different between the two groups (patients with CHD, 219±8µmol·l-1·h-1; patients without CHD, 234±10µmol·l-1·h-1). We conclude that intracellular signal transduction, as indicated by PAF-induced rises in [Ca2+]i and Na+/Li+ CT activity, is not associated with an increased risk of CHD in non-diabetic patients with essential hypertension.

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