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Biochem Pharmacol. 1986 Oct 15;35(20):3525-31.

Desensitization to nitroglycerin in vascular smooth muscle from rat and human.


Guanylate cyclase in high speed supernatant fractions obtained from rat thoracic aorta or human coronary arteries pretreated with nitroglycerin exhibited a marked desensitization to activation by nitroglycerin, nitroprusside, and nitric oxide. However, activation of soluble guanylate cyclase by arachidonic acid was unaffected by pretreatment of vessels with nitroglycerin. Furthermore, activation of soluble guanylate cyclase by protoporphyrin IX was increased 4-fold when vessels were pretreated with nitroglycerin. Soluble guanylate cyclase partially purified from nitroglycerin-pretreated rat thoracic aorta by immunoprecipitation with a specific monoclonal antibody exhibited persistent desensitization to nitrate-induced activation. These data suggest that nitroglycerin-induced desensitization of guanylate cyclase to activation by nitrovasodilators represents a stable alteration of the enzyme. In contrast, activation by protoporphyrin IX of guanylate cyclase immunoprecipitated from nitroglycerin-pretreated or control vessels was not significantly different. This suggests that the mechanism of protoporphyrin activation of guanylate cyclase is different than the mechanism with nitrovasodilators. Activation of particulate guanylate cyclase by Lubrol-PX, hemin, or atrial natriuretic factor was not significantly different with enzyme prepared from nitroglycerin-pretreated or control vessels from rat and human. Thus, nitroglycerin-induced desensitization of rat thoracic aorta or human coronary artery results in a relatively stable molecular alteration of soluble guanylate cyclase such that the enzyme is specifically less sensitive to activation by nitrovasodilators whereas the effects of other activators of the enzyme are either unchanged or increased.

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