Endogenous Nitric Oxide Modulates Vasopressor Responses, but Not Depressor Responses, to Spinal Sympathetic Nerve Stimulation in Pithed Rats

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Abstract

Summary

The effects of N ω-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME), an inhibitor of nitric oxide (NO) synthase (1,5, and 10 mg/kg) on vasopressor and depressor responses to segmental sympathetic nerve stimulation were studied in the pithed rat preparation. Vasopressor responses were evoked by stimulation of the spinal sympathetic outflow at T6-T8 (30 V, 0.05 ms at 5 Hz with 10 pulses). This pressor response was biphasic: An initial transient response (to nerve stimulation) was followed by a later prolonged response (to adrenal catecholamine release). L-NAME 1, 5, and 10 mg/kg increased mean arterial blood pressure (MAP); this effect was maximal at 1 mg/kg L-NAME, but had no effect on heart rate (HR). L-NAME 1, 5, and 10 mg/kg potentiated both phases of the pressor response; the effect was maximal at 10 mg/kg. Vasodepressor responses were evoked by stimulation of the spinal sympathetic outflow at S2-L6 (30 V, 0.05 ms at 5 Hz with 10 pulses). L-NAME 1, 5, and 10 mg/kg did not inhibit these depressor responses. We conclude that inhibition of the synthesis of endogenous NO causes a hypertension in pithed rats that is associated with increased vasoconstriction in response to sympathetic nerve stimulation and adrenal catecholamine release. Systemic vascular depressor responses to segmental sympathetic nerve stimulation are not affected, however; therefore, NO cannot be the major mediator of these responses

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