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Am J Physiol. 1995 Mar;268(3 Pt 2):H955-61.

Release of EDRF and NO in ex vivo perfused aorta: inhibition by in vivo E. coli endotoxemia.

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Department of Medicine, Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri.


Previous studies have yielded contradictory results about interrelations between endotoxin and endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). We tested the hypothesis that in vivo endotoxemia inhibits basal and/or agonist-mediated release of EDRF and nitric oxide (NO). EDRF bioactivity, NO production, and NO synthase (NOS) activity were measured in aorta from guinea pigs following 16 h of Escherichia coli endotoxemia (4 mg/kg endotoxin i.p.). Endothelium-dependent relaxation of aortic rings was studied under standard isometric conditions. Endotoxemia resulted in an 89% reduction in basal EDRF bioactivity and a 62% reduction in basal NO production in perfused aorta. EDRF bioactivity and NO production in response to the receptor-dependent agonists acetylcholine and ADP were significantly reduced in perfused aorta from endotoxemic animals. In contrast, endotoxin did not significantly inhibit EDRF bioactivity and NO production by the receptor-independent agonist A-23187. Aortic rings from endotoxemic animals likewise showed decreased vasodilator responses to acetylcholine and ADP but not to A-23187. Inducible (Ca2+ independent) NOS activity was not significantly different in control and endotoxin-treated animals. These findings indicate that prolonged endotoxemia resulted in diminution of release of EDRF, consistent with the interpretation that endotoxemia decreases basal and agonist-stimulated EDRF bioactivity and NO production with loss of endothelium-dependent vasodilator reserves during gram-negative sepsis.

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