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Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Jan;162(2):365-77. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.01023.x.

Impairment of both nitric oxide-mediated and EDHF-type relaxation in small mesenteric arteries from rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes.

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  • 1Health Innovation Research Institute, RMIT University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.



To investigate whether diabetes affects either or both nitric oxide (NO)-mediated and endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)-type relaxation in endothelium-dependent relaxation of mesenteric arteries from streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.


Wire myography was employed to examine endothelial function of mesenteric arteries. Superoxide levels were measured by L-012 and lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence. Western blotting was used to quantify protein expression levels.


Superoxide levels were significantly increased in diabetic mesenteric arteries compared with normal arteries. Diabetes significantly reduced the sensitivity to the endothelium-dependent relaxant, acetylcholine (ACh) in mesenteric arteries. When the contribution of NO to relaxation was abolished by N-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA) + a soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitor (ODQ), the sensitivity to ACh was significantly decreased in the diabetic arteries compared with normal arteries, indicating an impaired EDHF-type relaxation despite increased expression of intermediate- and small-conductance calcium-activated potassium channels. Conversely, when the contribution of EDHF was inhibited with TRAM-34 + apamin + iberiotoxin, maximum relaxations to ACh were significantly decreased in diabetic compared with normal arteries, suggesting that the contribution of NO was also impaired by diabetes. Basal levels of NO release, indicated by contraction to L-NNA, were also significantly decreased in diabetic arteries. Western blot analysis demonstrated that diabetic arteries had an increased expression of Nox2, decreased pSer⁴⁷³ Akt and a reduced proportion of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) expressed as a dimer, indicating uncoupling.


The contribution of both NO and EDHF-type relaxations was impaired in diabetes and was caused by increased oxidative stress, decreased pSer⁴⁷³ Akt and/or eNOS uncoupling.

© 2010 The Authors. British Journal of Pharmacology © 2010 The British Pharmacological Society.

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