Role of endothelium-derived nitric oxide in the regulation of tonus in large-bore arterial resistance vessels, arterioles and veins in cat skeletal muscle

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The role of endothelium-derived nitric oxide in the regulation of vascular resistance (tonus) in cat skeletal muscle was studied with the use of NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), a specific inhibitor of nitric oxide formation from L-arginine. The study was performed with a whole-organ technique which permits simultaneous, continuous and quantitative recordings of resistance reactions in the whole vascular bed (RT) and in its three consecutive sections: large-bore arterial resistance vessels (greater than 25 microns; Ra,prox), small arterioles (less than 25 microns; Ra,micro) and veins (Rv). NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (3-100 mg kg-1 tissue, i.a.) induced a dose-dependent increase in resistance that was preferentially, but not selectively, confined to the large-bore arterial resistance vessels. At a maximally effective dose (100 mg kg-1), the nitric oxide inhibitor caused a marked constriction, within 5 min, on average increasing RT by 99%, Ra,prox by 138%, Ra,micro by 18% and Rv by 23%. The constrictor response to NG-monomethyl-L-arginine was long-lasting but disappeared gradually over a period of about 1 h. However, it could be abruptly abolished by excess L-arginine (300 mg kg-1, i.a.). The vasodilator response (RT) to acetylcholine was significantly attenuated in the presence of NG-monomethyl-L-arginine compared with the control response. The results suggested that nitric oxide formation from L-arginine by the vascular endothelium plays a fundamental role in the regulation of vascular resistance (tone) in vivo, with its main site of action located in the large-bore arterial resistance vessels.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Anesthesiology and Intensive Care
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-309
JournalActa Physiologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Publication categoryResearch