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FASEB J. 2004 Mar;18(3):531-3. Epub 2004 Jan 8.

Synthesis of nitric oxide in postganglionic myenteric neurons during endotoxemia: implications for gastric motor function in rats.

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Departamento de FarmacologĂ­a, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Valencia, Valencia, Spain.


We have investigated the mechanisms underlying acute changes in gastric motor function triggered by endotoxemia. In fundal strips from rats pre-treated with endotoxin (40 microg/kg, i.p. 30 min), mechanical activity was analyzed and the source of nitric oxide (NO) was visualized by confocal microscopy of tissue loaded with the fluorescent dye DAF-FM. NOS expression was determined by quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot, and enzyme activity by the citrulline assay. Strips from endotoxin-treated rats were hypo-contractile. This was prevented by pre-incubation with the neurotoxin tetrodotoxin, the gangliar blocker hexamethonium, or non-selective and neuronal-specific NOS inhibitors (L-NOARG and TRIM, respectively). The soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) inhibitor ODQ and the inhibitor of small conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels apamin prevented relaxation induced by endotoxin, nicotine, exogenous NO (DETA-NONOate), and the NO-independent sGC activator BAY 41-2272. NO synthesis was observed in neuronal soma, axons, and nerve endings of the myenteric plexus in the fundus of endotoxin-treated rats and was prevented by L-NAME, tetrodotoxin, and hexamethonium. nNOS and iNOS mRNA and protein contents were unchanged. Our findings demonstrate synthesis of NO in post-ganglionic myenteric neurons during early endotoxemia that mediates gastric hypo-contractility. The effect of NO is mediated via sGC and small conductance Ca2+-activated K+channels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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