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Kidney Int. 1993 Aug;44(2):430-5.

Nitric oxide mediates renal vasodilation during erythropoietin-induced polycythemia.

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Department of Medicine, University of Florida, College of Medicine, Gainesville.


The renal blood flow (RBF) of patients with polycythemia rubra vera is increased despite the high hematocrit (Hct) which elevates the whole blood viscosity. Since blood viscosity determines the shear force on the endothelium which is a major stimulus to nitric oxide (NO) release, we investigated the hypothesis that renal vasodilation during erythropoietin-induced erythrocytosis is mediated by the L-arginine-NO pathway. Groups of Sprague-Dawley rats received thrice weekly injections of erythropoietin (E) for two to five weeks; responses were contrasted with normal rats (N) which received sham injections. The first group was studied after five weeks of erythropoietin injections which led to sharp increases in Hct (E: 72 +/- 3 vs. N: 44 +/- 1%) and mean arterial pressure (MAP: 126 +/- 3 vs. 107 +/- 3 mm Hg). These rats had an elevated basal RBF whether measured by the clearance and renal extraction of PAH or by a transit-time renal blood flow meter. Subsequent groups were studied after two to three weeks of erythropoietin which raised the Hct more modestly to 59 +/- 2%. In this group, the basal MAP was similar in E and N rats. Graded doses of the NO synthase inhibitor, N omega-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMA) led to a steeper rise in MAP in E than N; at the highest doses, the MAP had increased by 36 +/- 2 in E and 23 +/- 3 mm Hg in N (P < 0.01).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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