Long-term nitric oxide synthase inhibition and distensibility of carotid artery in intact rats.
The goal of the present study was to evaluate the effect of long-term nitric oxide synthase inhibition by NG-nitro-L-arginine-methyl ester (L-NAME) on the morphology and viscoelastic properties of the carotid arteries in rats. Twelve-week-old Wistar-Kyoto rats were treated for 6 weeks with either the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor L-NAME (0.4 g/L in drinking water; L-NAME rats, n = 13) or tap water (control rats, n = 13). Age-matched spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR, n = 14) received tap water for the same period. The internal diameter of the common carotid artery was measured continuously with an echo-tracking device with the rats under anesthesia with halothane. Intra-arterial pressure was monitored on the contralateral side. L-NAME rats exhibited arterial pressures similar to those of SHR. The distensibility pressure-curve determined in L-NAME rats was a direct continuation of that obtained in control rats. In contrast the distensibility in SHR was increased (P < .01, SHR versus L-NAME rats). Carotid artery cross-sectional area and left ventricular weight index were increased similarly in SHR and L-NAME rats compared with control rats. Thus the hypertension caused by long-term nitric oxide synthesis inhibition was not associated with the increased arterial distensibility observed in SHR despite similar blood pressure elevations, similar arterial hypertrophy, and consequently similar wall stress. This suggests a role for nitric oxide in regulating the mechanical behavior of arteries exposed to high blood pressure.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association