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Exp Physiol. 1999 Sep;84(5):907-16.

Role of nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase in pulmonary vascular control in isolated perfused lungs of ferrets, rats and rabbits.

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Division of Clinical Sciences, Respiratory Medicine, University of Sheffield Medical School, Beech Hill Road, Sheffield S10 2RX, UK.


Dilator products of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX) may contribute to the low normal pulmonary artery pressure (Ppa). In isolated perfused lungs of ferrets, rabbits and rats we investigated this hypothesis by blockade of NOS with L-NAME (L-nitro-arginine methyl ester) and COX with meclofenamate. There were species differences. Inhibition of either enzyme caused little rise in Ppa in ferrets and rats but inhibition of both enzymes caused huge increases in Ppa. We suggest this might be due to intracellular connections between the excitatory pathways for NOS and COX dilators, such that inhibition of one enzyme leads to activation of the other. Impairment of these endothelial-based enzymes in pulmonary vascular disease might lead to severe pulmonary hypertension. By contrast, in rabbits, comparable doses of L-NAME lead to large rises in Ppa which were reversed rather than amplified by COX blockade. NO seems to protect against some pressor/oedema forming product of COX in this species.

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