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Nitric Oxide. 2008 Jun;18(4):287-95. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2008.02.004. Epub 2008 Mar 10.

A novel mechanism of vascular relaxation induced by sodium nitroprusside in the isolated rat aorta.

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Departamento de Física e Química, Laboratório de Farmacologia, Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto, USP, 14.040-903 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.


Sodium nitroprusside (SNP) is an endothelium-independent relaxant agent and its effect is attributed to its direct action on the vascular smooth muscle (VSM). Endothelium modulates the vascular tone through the release of vasoactive agents, such as NO. The aim of this study was to investigate the contribution of the endothelium on SNP vasorelaxation, NO release and Ca2+ mobilization. Vascular reactivity experiments showed that endothelium potentiates the SNP-relaxation in rat aortic rings and this effect was abolished by l-NAME. SNP-relaxation in intact endothelium aorta was inhibited by NOS inhibitors for the constitutive isoforms (cNOS). Furthermore, endogenous NO is involved on the SNP-effect and this endogenous NO is released by cNOS. Moreover, Ca2+ mobilization study shows that l-NAME inhibited the reduction of Ca2+-concentration in VSM cells and reduced the increase in Ca2+-concentration in endothelial cells induced by SNP. This enhancement in Ca2+-concentration in the endothelial cells is due to a voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels activation. The present findings indicate that the relaxation and [Ca2+]i decrease induced by SNP in VSM cells is potentiated by endothelial production of NO by cNOS-activation in rat aorta.

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