Chronic administration of aminoguanidine reduces vascular nitric oxide production and attenuates liver damage in bile duct-ligated rats

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BackgroundNitric oxide (NO) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of liver cirrhosis. This study investigated the activity of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in cirrhosis induced by bile duct-ligation (BDL) with NOS inhibitors.MethodThree days after operation, rats were randomized to receive aminoguanidine (AG, 25 mg/kg/day) or L-NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 10 mg/kg/day) for 21 days.ResultsVascular NO production, which was increased in BDL cirrhotic rats, was reduced by 75% with AG but not L-NAME chronic administration. AG treatment attenuated liver damage, while L-NAME aggravated it. AG significantly suppressed inducible NOS (iNOS) expression in aorta of BDL rats at both mRNA and protein level, but much less efficient in reducing it in liver. In contrast, endothelial NOS (eNOS) expression was not markedly affected. Calcium-independent NOS activity, which was dramatically increased in aorta of BDL rats, was abolished by AG treatment. In liver, however, both calcium-dependent and -independent NOS activity were increased by AG treatment.ConclusionChronic administration of AG could reduce systemic NO levels as well as suppress iNOS expression and activity in aorta of BDL rats. It also improved liver function, possibly because of its ability to increase hepatic NOS activity, and to correct the systemic hemodynamic disorders by decreasing vascular NO production.

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