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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1988 Jan;244(1):322-7.

Mechanism of glyceryl trinitrate-induced vasodilation. I. Relationship between drug biotransformation, tissue cyclic GMP elevation and relaxation of rabbit aorta.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that biotransformation of glyceryl trinitrate (GTN) is involved in GTN-induced relaxation of vascular smooth muscle. The temporal relationship between GTN biotransformation, elevation of cyclic GMP content and vasodilation in rabbit aortic strips (RAS) was determined. Isolated RAS were contracted submaximally with phenylephrine, and then were incubated with 0.62 microM [3H]GTN in a 30-sec time course study. GTN-induced relaxation (inhibition of phenylephrine-induced tone) of RAS was monitored; tissue cyclic GMP content was measured by radioimmunoassay; and GTN, glyceryl-1,2-dinitrate (1,2-GDN) and glyceryl-1,3-dinitrate (1,3-GDN) concentrations in RAS were measured by thin-layer chromatography and liquid scintillation spectrometry. There was time-dependent biotransformation of GTN to GDN by the RAS and a time-dependent increase in cyclic GMP content in the RAS. Statistically significant (P less than .05) biotransformation of GTN and elevation of cyclic GMP content in the tissue occurred at 10 sec, whereas the onset of GTN-induced relaxation of RAS occurred at 12 sec. During the tissue biotransformation of GTN, there was preferential formation of 1,2-GDN compared with 1,3-GDN, with 1,2-GDN/1,3-GDN ratio of 3.0/1 at 10 sec, 5.3/1 at 20 sec and 5.8/1 at 30 sec. The results of this study are consistent with the hypothesis that GTN is a prodrug, such that biotransformation to an active metabolite is involved in GTN-induced relaxation of vascular smooth muscle. The data also indicate that the mechanisms of GTN biotransformation and GTN-induced activation of guanylate cyclase may be related intimately.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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