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Am J Physiol. 1994 Sep;267(3 Pt 1):G416-22.

Nitric oxide modulates hepatic vascular tone in normal rat liver.

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  • 1Hepatic Hemodynamic Laboratory, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, West Haven 06516.


This study investigated whether nitric oxide (NO) plays a role in the intrahepatic portal circulation in normal rat livers perfused in situ. N omega-nitro-L-arginine (NNA), a specific NO biosynthesis inhibitor, significantly increased baseline portal pressure compared with controls (P < 0.05). Concentration-effect curves to norepinephrine (NE) were performed. Perfusate flow was maintained as constant, and perfusion pressure was continuously measured. NNA markedly enhanced the responsiveness to NE. This effect was abolished by the addition of L-arginine, a specific NO substrate. Presence of indomethacin did not alter the response to NE. The response to NE in the presence of indomethacin and NNA was significantly more than the response to NE in the presence of NNA alone. In vivo, intraportal infusion of NNA significantly enhanced the portal pressure compared with vehicle. This study demonstrates that NO contributes to the basal vascular tone and attenuates the response to NE in intrahepatic portal vascular bed of normal rats. These results support a functional role of NO in the regulation of the intrahepatic portal circulation in normal rats. This study also suggests a synergistic, albeit limited, role of prostacyclin in the intrahepatic circulation.

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