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      Does the Endothelium Abolish or Promote Arterial Vasomotion in Rat Mesenteric Arteries? Explanations for the Seemingly Contradictory Effects

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          Background and Aims: Vasomotion consists in cyclic oscillations of the arterial diameter induced by the synchronized activity of the smooth muscle cells. So far, contradictory results have emerged in the literature about the role of the endothelium in the onset and maintenance of vasomotion. Here our aim is to understand how the endothelium may either abolish or promote vasomotion. Methods and Results: We investigate rat mesenteric arterial strips stimulated with phenylephrine (PE). Our results show that the endothelium is not necessary for vasomotion. However, when the endothelium is removed, the PE concentration needed to induce vasomotion is lower and the rhythmic contractions occur for a narrower range of PE concentrations. We demonstrate that endothelium-derived relaxing products may either induce or abolish vasomotion. On the one hand, when the strip is tonically contracted in a nonoscillating state, an endothelium-derived relaxation may induce vasomotion. On the other hand, if the strip displays vasomotion with a medium mean contraction, a relaxation may induce a transition to a nonoscillating state with a small contraction. Conclusion: Our findings clarify the role of the endothelium on vasomotion and reconcile the seemingly contradictory observations reported in the literature.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Endothelium-derived relaxing factor produced and released from artery and vein is nitric oxide.

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            Characterization of three inhibitors of endothelial nitric oxide synthase in vitro and in vivo.

            1. Three analogues of L-arginine were characterized as inhibitors of endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase by measuring their effect on the endothelial NO synthase from porcine aortae, on the vascular tone of rings of rat aorta and on the blood pressure of the anaesthetized rat. 2. NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), N-iminoethyl-L-ornithine (L-NIO) and NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME; all at 0.1-100 microM) caused concentration-dependent inhibition of the Ca2(+)-dependent endothelial NO synthase from porcine aortae. 3. L-NMMA, L-NIO and L-NAME caused an endothelium-dependent contraction and an inhibition of the endothelium-dependent relaxation induced by acetylcholine (ACh) in aortic rings. 4. L-NMMA, L-NIO and L-NAME (0.03-300 mg kg-1, i.v.) induced a dose-dependent increase in mean systemic arterial blood pressure accompanied by bradycardia. 5. L-NMMA, L-NIO and L-NAME (100 mg kg-1, i.v.) inhibited significantly the hypotensive responses to ACh and bradykinin. 6. The increase in blood pressure and bradycardia produced by these compounds were reversed by L-arginine (30-100 mg kg-1, i.v.) in a dose-dependent manner. 7. All of these effects were enantiomer specific. 8. These results indicate that L-NMMA, L-NIO and L-NAME are inhibitors of NO synthase in the vascular endothelium and confirm the important role of NO synthesis in the maintenance of vascular tone and blood pressure.
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              Vasomotion: mechanisms and physiological importance.

              That smooth muscles dilate and contract rhythmically has been known for a long time and the phenomenon has been studied for nearly as long. However, the causes and effects of smooth muscle oscillation (termed vasomotion) are far from clear. It is thought that vasomotion aids the delivery of oxygen to tissues surrounding capillary beds. On the other hand, unregulated vasomotion might participate in the development and maintenance of pathophysiological states. Nilsson and Aalkjaer review what is known about vasomotion and its consequences.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                August 2008
                09 April 2008
                : 45
                : 5
                : 416-426
                aLaboratory of Cell Biophysics, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, and bDepartment of Zoology and Animal Biology, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
                124283 J Vasc Res 2008;45:416–426
                © 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 6, References: 35, Pages: 11
                Research Paper


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