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BACKGROUND: Residents of the Himalayan valleys uniquely adapted to their hypoxic environment in terms of pulmonary vasculature, but their systemic vascular function is still largely unexplored. The aim of the study was to investigate vascular function and structure in rural Sherpa population, permanently living at high altitude in Nepal (HA), in comparison with control Caucasian subjects (C) living at sea level. METHODS AND RESULTS: 95 HA and 64 C were enrolled. Cardiac ultrasound, flow-mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery, carotid geometry and stiffness, and aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) were performed. The same protocol was repeated in 11 HA with reduced FMD, after 1-h 100% O2 administration. HA presented lower FMD (5.18 ± 3.10 vs. 6.44  ±  2.91%, p = 0.02) and hyperemic velocity than C (0.61 ± 0.24 vs. 0.75 ± 0.28 m/s, p = 0.008), while systolic pulmonary pressure was higher (29.4 ± 5.5 vs. 23.6 ± 4.8 mmHg, p 

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





47 - 53


Arterial stiffness, Carotid remodeling, Echocardiography, Endothelial function, High altitude, Hypoxia, Adaptation, Physiological, Adolescent, Adult, Altitude, Anthropometry, Blood Flow Velocity, Brachial Artery, Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena, Carotid Intima-Media Thickness, Echocardiography, Doppler, Endothelium, Vascular, Ethnicity, Female, Hemorheology, Humans, Hyperemia, Hypoxia, Male, Microcirculation, Middle Aged, Nepal, Nitric Oxide, Oxygen, Phenotype, Pulse Wave Analysis, Reference Values, Rural Population, Vascular Stiffness, Vasodilation, Young Adult