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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1990 Dec 14;173(2):541-7.

Dexamethasone prevents the induction by endotoxin of a nitric oxide synthase and the associated effects on vascular tone: an insight into endotoxin shock.

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Wellcome Research Laboratories, Beckenham, Kent, United Kingdom.


The relationship between vascular tone and the induction by endotoxin of a nitric oxide (NO) synthase was studied in vitro in rings of rat thoracic aorta. In rings with and without endothelium there was a time-dependent induction of NO synthase accompanied by both spontaneous and L-arginine-induced relaxation and by reduced contractility to phenylephrine. These effects, which were attributable to the presence of endotoxin in the Krebs' buffer, were attenuated by cycloheximide, polymyxin B and inhibitors of NO synthase. Furthermore, dexamethasone inhibited the induction of NO synthase and the consequent effects on vascular tone. These findings indicate that prevention of the induction of NO synthase by glucocorticoids may be an important component of their therapeutic action.

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