Sustaining Excessive Nitric Oxide Upregulates Protein Expression of Nitric Oxide Synthase via Soluble Guanylyl Cyclase: An In Vivo Study in Rats

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The aim of this study was to elucidate whether upregulation of the endothelial NO synthase (eNOS)/nitric oxide (NO) pathway is associated with downregulation of the NO/soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) pathway. To produce acutely or chronically excessive NO, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) was administered intraperitoneally to rats in a single dose of 4 mg/kg (LPS-single group) or in stepwise doses of 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 mg/kg every other day (LPS-repeated group). At 24 hours after the treatment, in the thoracic aorta from the LPS-single group, both relaxations in response to sodium nitroprus-side (SNP), an NO donor, and acetylcholine (ACh) and protein levels of sGC and eNOS remained unchanged. In contrast, in the LPS-repeated group, the SNP-induced relaxation and sGC protein expression significantly decreased, while the ACh-induced relaxation and eNOS protein expression significantly increased compared with the non-treated control. All these changes in the relaxations and protein levels were restored by treatment with NOX-100, an NO scavenger. Furthermore, similar alteration in vascular function observed in the LPS-repeated group occurred in rats receiving SNP via subcutaneous using osmotic pumps (0.4 mg/h). These results indicate that persistent excessive NO exposure induces upregulation of the eNOS/NO pathway in the endothelium together with downregulation of the NO/sGC pathway.

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