Changes in nitric oxide release in vivo in response to vasoactive substances

E. Nava, N. P. Wiklund, F. J. Salazar

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22 Scopus citations


1. Changes in the release of nitric oxide (NO) in vivo were studied in rats following the administration of endothelium-dependent and -independent vasodilators as well as the NO synthesis inhibitor, N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME). NO production was assessed by measuring variations of nitrate in plasma by capillary ion analysis. 2. Intravenous administration of the endothelium-dependent vasodilators, bradykinin (2 and 10 μg kg-1 min-1) or substance P (0.3-3 μg kg-1 min-1) caused a transient dose-dependent hypotension followed by an increase in plasma nitrate concentration (maximal increments: 33 ± 5% and 38 ± 6%, for bradykinin and substance P, respectively). Prior administration of L-NAME (10 mg kg-1 min-1) inhibited the hypotension and increase in plasma nitrate caused by these substances. Intravenous administration of sodium nitrate (200 μg kg-1) also produced a transitory elevation in plasma nitrate which was similar in magnitude as that caused by the vasodilators. A rapid and transitory increment in plasma nitrate was observed after i.v. administration of authentic NO (400 μg kg-1). 3. Rats receiving the endothelium-dependent vasodilators, prostacyclin (0.6 μg kg-1 min-1) or adenosine (3 mg kg-1 min-1) intravenously showed a drop in blood pressure paralleled by a decrease in plasma nitrate (maximal decreases: 34 ± 5% and 24 ± 4%, for prostacyclin and adenosine, respectively). A similar effect on the plasmatic concentration of nitrate was observed when L-NAME (10 mg kg-1 min-1, i.v.) was administered to the animals. 4. This study demonstrates that (i) changes in plasma nitrate can be detected in vivo after stimulation or inhibition of NO synthase, (ii) an increased production of NO, measured as plasma nitrate, is related to the hypotension caused by bradykinin and substance P and (iii) a diminished concentration of plasmatic nitrate is associated to the hypotension induced by adenosine or prostacyclin (endothelium-independent vasodilators), suggesting that the L-arginine: NO pathway is capable of rapid down-regulation in response to a fall in blood pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1211-1216
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenosine
  • Arterial pressure
  • Bradykinin
  • Capillary ion analysis
  • Nitrate
  • Nitric oxide
  • Prostacyclin
  • Substance P


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