Allopurinol improves endothelial dysfunction in chronic heart failure

Colin A. J. Farquharson, Robert Butler, Alexander Hill, Jill J. F. Belch, Allan D. Struthers

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    449 Citations (Scopus)


    Background— Increased oxidative stress in chronic heart failure is thought to contribute to endothelial dysfunction. Xanthine oxidase produces oxidative stress and therefore we examined whether allopurinol improved endothelial dysfunction in chronic heart failure. Methods and Results— We performed a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover study on 11 patients with New York Heart Association class II-III chronic heart failure, comparing 300 mg allopurinol daily (1 month) versus placebo. Endothelial function was assessed by standard forearm venous occlusion plethysmography with acetylcholine, nitroprusside, and verapamil. Plasma malondialdehyde levels were also compared to assess significant changes in oxidative stress. Allopurinol significantly increased the forearm blood flow response to acetylcholine (percentage change in forearm blood flow [mean±SEM]: 181±19% versus 120±22% allopurinol versus placebo; P=0.003). There were no significant differences in the forearm blood flow changes between the placebo and allopurinol treatment arms with regard to sodium nitroprusside or verapamil. Plasma malondialdehyde was significantly reduced with allopurinol treatment (346±128 nmol/L versus 461±101 nmol/L, allopurinol versus placebo; P=0.03), consistent with reduced oxidative stress with allopurinol therapy. Conclusions— We have shown that allopurinol improves endothelial dysfunction in chronic heart failure. This raises the distinct possibility that allopurinol might reduce cardiovascular events and even improve exercise capacity in chronic heart failure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)221-226
    Number of pages6
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002


    • Antioxidants
    • Heart failure
    • Exercise
    • Endothelium


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