ENDOGENOUS NITRIC OXIDE PRODUCTION IS AUGMENTED AS THE SEVERITY ADVANCES IN PATIENTS WITH LIVER CIRRHOSIS


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Abstract

1. Since endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO) is a potent vasodilator and degraded into nitrous ions, we measured the serum nitrate ion(NO3-) and the amount of urinary excretions of NO3- as an index for endogenous NO to ascertain whether NO formation is augmented in patients with chronic liver diseases.2. Using inpatients suffering from chronic liver diseases, serum levels and urinary excretions of NO3- were measured by using high-performance liquid chromatography with an anion exchange column.3. Among the four patient groups of normal controls, and those with chronic liver diseases such as chronic active hepatitis, compensated cirrhosis, and decompensated cirrhosis the serum level of NO3- showed the highest level in a patient group with decompensated cirrhosis. The amount of urinary excretion of NO3- was significantly increased in both groups of patients with liver cirrhosis compared with the control group and patients with chronic active hepatitis. Patients with chronic active hepatitis did not show any difference between the normal control group. The amount of urinary excretion of NO3- correlated significantly and negatively with the level of serum albumin (P < 0.05) and counts of platelets (P < 0.01) in patients with compensated cirrhosis.4. These findings suggest that the production of endogenous NO is augmented in patients with liver cirrhosis, particularly in a decompensated subgroup. Increases in the production of endogenous NO correspond to the progress of liver cirrhosis, but not in patients with chronic hepatitis.

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