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Am J Physiol. 1997 Mar;272(3 Pt 2):H1364-71.

Acetylcholine induces conducted vasodilation by nitric oxide-dependent and -independent mechanisms.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville 22908, USA.


Conducted vasodilation has been proposed as an important component of local vascular control. Because conducted vasomotor responses have previously been studied only in response to short pulses (<500 ms) of agonist, this study examined conducted vasodilation in response to sustained stimuli. In addition, we examined the contribution of nitric oxide (NO) to initiation and maintenance of conducted responses induced by acetylcholine (ACh). Responses to 2-min applications of ACh, sodium nitroprusside, and 8-bromoguanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate were obtained in cannulated, perfused hamster cheek pouch arterioles (approximately 60 microm in diameter). Changes of luminal diameter in response to pressure ejection of agonists from a micropipette placed close to the downstream end of the vessel were observed at the site of stimulation ("local") as well as 570 and 1,140 microm upstream. At the local site, ACh stimuli produced large changes in diameter (approximately 70% of the maximum response) that peaked within 45 s before declining slowly to levels of approximately 50% of the maximum response. A similar response pattern was observed at both upstream sites, with the conducted responses being maintained for the duration of the stimulus. Local responses of similar magnitude were found with sodium nitroprusside and 8-bromoguanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate, but only minimal responses were observed at the conducted sites. In a separate set of arterioles, ACh responses were obtained before and during perfusion with 10 microM N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine. Inhibition of NO synthesis diminished the local response to ACh, but the initial phase of the conducted response was unaffected. Furthermore, the conducted responses faded more rapidly in the presence of N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine. We conclude from these results that local NO synthesis alone is insufficient to initiate conducted responses but that NO synthesis contributes to maintenance of sustained conducted responses.

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