Send to

Choose Destination
Cardiovasc Res. 1992 Jan;26(1):48-57.

Protective and pathological roles of nitric oxide in endotoxin shock.

Author information

Wellcome Research Laboratories, Beckenham, Kent, United Kingdom.



The aim was to investigate the effects of NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), an inhibitor of both the constitutive (Ca2+ dependent) and inducible (Ca2+ independent) nitric oxide (NO) synthases, or of pretreatment with the glucocorticoid dexamethasone, an inhibitor of the induction of the Ca2+ independent NO synthase, on lipopolysaccharide induced shock in the anaesthetised rabbit.


Mean arterial blood pressure, and blood flow in the portal vein, hepatic artery, and hindquarter vascular beds were measured in 49 halothane anaesthetised New Zealand White rabbits given lipopolysaccharide (Salmonella minnesota, 500 intravenously). The effects of pre- or post-lipopolysaccharide treatment with L-NMMA (300 intravenously) and of pretreatment with dexamethasone (3 intravenously) were determined. The effect of the NO donor S-nitroso-N-acetyl-penicillamine (SNAP, 300 intravenously) in animals treated with lipopolysaccharide and L-NMMA was also studied.


Lipopolysaccharide elicited an initial transient fall in mean arterial pressure and decreases in blood flow in the vascular beds, followed by a progressive fall in mean arterial pressure. L-NMMA when given either before or after lipopolysaccharide markedly exacerbated its effects and resulted in severe hypotension, intense vasoconstriction, and increased mortality. Pretreatment with dexamethasone had no effect on the initial haemodynamic changes following lipopolysaccharide, but prevented the subsequent fall in mean arterial pressure observed in animals treated with lipopolysaccharide alone. Dexamethasone failed, however, to protect animals also treated with L-NMMA before lipopolysaccharide. Animals pretreated with L-NMMA and SNAP showed reduced haemodynamic changes when compared with controls (lipopolysaccharide only) or lipopolysaccharide and L-NMMA treated animals.


Inhibition of both constitutive and inducible NO synthases during endotoxaemia is deleterious. This can be overcome by replacing NO intravenously with a donor of NO. Selective inhibition of the inducible NO synthase may, however, be beneficial in shock.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center