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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2003 Jun;284(6):R1355-69.

Role of renal NO production in the regulation of medullary blood flow.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA.


The unique role of nitric oxide (NO) in the regulation of renal medullary function is supported by the evidence summarized in this review. The impact of reduced production of NO within the renal medulla on the delivery of blood to the medulla and on the long-term regulation of sodium excretion and blood pressure is described. It is evident that medullary NO production serves as an important counterregulatory factor to buffer vasoconstrictor hormone-induced reduction of medullary blood flow and tissue oxygen levels. When NO synthase (NOS) activity is reduced within the renal medulla, either pharmacologically or genetically [Dahl salt-sensitive (S) rats], a super sensitivity to vasoconstrictors develops with ensuing hypertension. Reduced NO production may also result from reduced cellular uptake of l-arginine in the medullary tissue, resulting in hypertension. It is concluded that NO production in the renal medulla plays a very important role in sodium and water homeostasis and the long-term control of arterial pressure.

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