Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors enhance the hypotensive effects of propofol by increasing nitric oxide production

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Propofol anesthesia is usually accompanied by hypotension. Studies have shown that the hypotensive effects of propofol increase in patients treated with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi). Given that both propofol and ACEi affect nitric oxide (NO) signaling, the present study tested the hypothesis that ACEi treatment induces pronounced hypotensive responses to propofol by increasing NO bioavailability. In this study we evaluated 65 patients, divided into three groups: hypertensive patients chronically treated with ACEi (HT-ACEi; n = 21), hypertensive patients treated with other antihypertensive drugs instead of ACEi, such as angiotensin II receptor blockers, β-blockers or diuretics (HT; n = 21) and healthy normotensive subjects (NT; n = 23). Venous blood samples were collected at baseline and after 10 min of anesthesia with propofol 2 mg/kg administrated intravenously by bolus injection. Hemodynamic parameters were recorded at each blood sample collection. Nitrite levels were determined by using an ozone-based chemiluminescence assay, while NOx (nitrites+nitrates) levels were measured by using the Griess reaction. Additionally, experimental approaches were used to validate our clinical findings. Higher decreases in blood pressure after propofol anesthesia were observed in HT-ACEi group as compared with those found in NT and HT groups. Consistently, rats treated with the ACEi enalapril showed more intense hypotensive responses to propofol. The hypotensive effects of propofol were associated with increased NO production in both clinical and experimental approaches. Enhanced increases in nitrite levels after propofol anesthesia were observed in HT-ACEi patients compared with NT and HT groups. Accordingly, rats treated with enalapril showed increased vascular NO formation after propofol anesthesia compared with rats receiving vehicle. Our data show that ACEi enhance the hypotensive responses to propofol anesthesia and increase nitrite concentrations. These findings suggest that increased NO bioavailability may account for the enhanced hypotensive effects of propofol in ACEi-treated patients.

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