Skip to main content
  • Oral Presentations
  • Free Communications
  • Open access
  • Published:

14.01 Molecular Determinants of Arterial Stiffness


Arterial stiffness has an independent predictive value for cardiovascular events. This review proposes an integrated view of the molecular determinants of arterial stiffness, based on a candidate gene approach, an analysis of the structure-function relationship in hypertension, and studies on gene expression profile in humans. In monogenic diseases of connective tissue (Marfan, Williams, and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes) and corresponding animal models, the precise characterization of arterial phenotype allows understanding the influence of abnormal, genetically-determined, wall components on arterial stiffness. These studies underline the role of extracellular matrix signaling in the vascular wall and the fact that elastin and collagen have not only passive elastic or rigid properties, but also are implicated in the control of SMC function. In animal models of essential hypertension (SHR and SHR-SP), the structural modifications of the arterial wall include a higher number of elastin/SMC connections, and smaller fenestrations of the internal elastic lamina, which could redistribute the mechanical load towards elastic materials. Thus, the changes in arterial wall material which accompany wall hypertrophy in these animals are not associated with an increased stiffness. Taken together, these data afford strong arguments to consider that arterial stiffness is not only influenced by the amount and density of stiff wall material, but mainly by its spatial organization.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC license

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Laurent, S., Fassot, C., Lacolley, P. et al. 14.01 Molecular Determinants of Arterial Stiffness. Artery Res 1 (Suppl 1), S27–S28 (2006).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: