Superoxide Anion From the Adventitia of the Rat Thoracic Aorta Inactivates Nitric Oxide

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether superoxide anion is produced endogenously in the rat aortic adventitia and whether sufficient superoxide anion is produced to interfere with the response of the rat aorta to nitric oxide. Relaxation was measured in rings of the rat thoracic aorta, which were oriented so that the adventitial or luminal surface could be preferentially exposed to nitric oxide or sodium nitroprusside. To accomplish this, the rings were mounted (1) with the adventitia facing outward, (2) with the adventitia facing inward after inverting, or (3) with the adventitia facing outward after inverting twice (to control for the inverting procedure). The relaxation to nitric oxide, but not to sodium nitroprusside, was less in rings with the adventitia facing outward compared with those in which it faced inward. In contrast, the response to nitric oxide via either surface was similar when extracellular superoxide anion was scavenged with superoxide dismutase. Incubation of rings with nitro blue tetrazolium (NBT) resulted in blue formazan staining of the adventitia, and lucigenin chemiluminescence was significantly greater when detected from the adventitial compared with the intimal aspect of the artery. The reduction of NBT in intact aortic rings was 30 +/- 2 pmol [center dot] min-1 [center dot] mg-1 and was significantly decreased by superoxide dismutase to 19 +/- 2 pmol [center dot] min-1 [center dot] mg-1 and by a synthetic superoxide dismutase mimic, Euk-8, to 11 +/- 2 pmol [center dot] min-1 [center dot] mg (-1). The NADPH oxidase inhibitor, diphenyleneiodonium, decreased NBT reduction to 9 +/- 1 pmol [center dot] min-1 [center dot] mg-1, whereas inhibitors of xanthine oxidase, mitochondrial oxidases, and nitric oxide synthase were ineffective. Immunohistochemical staining indicated the localization of NADPH oxidase proteins gp91phox, p22phox, p47phox, and p67phox almost exclusively in the adventitia of the rat aorta with no substantial staining in the media. These results indicate that NADPH oxidase located in the adventitia of rat thoracic aorta generates sufficient extracellular superoxide anion to constitute a barrier capable of inactivating nitric oxide. This study suggests that adventitial superoxide anion can play a role in the pathophysiology of the arterial wall. (Circ Res. 1998;82:810-818.)

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