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Acta Physiol Scand. 1997 Sep;161(1):47-53.

Effect of the inhibitor of NO synthase, NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, on histamine-induced bronchospasm in the rabbit.

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Department d'Anesthésiologie, Hôpital central, Nancy, France.


New Zealand male rabbits were anaesthetized with thiopental, tracheotomized, curarized by vecuronium bromide and mechanically ventilated. Six rabbits received L-NAME 10 mg kg-1 i.v., six rabbits L-NAME 15 mg kg-1 iv, and six rabbits received saline i.v. (controls), 5 min before a histamine aerosol (2% solution during 5 min). Six others rabbits received an injection of L-NAME 15 mg kg-1 iv, 5 min before the histamine aerosol, followed by an infusion of L-arginine over a 60- min period. Total respiratory resistance (Rrs) and elastance (Ers) were derived by least square analysis of the relationship between tracheal pressure and flow, and computed every minute before and over a 1-h period after the histamine aerosol. Oxygen free radicals (OFR) were measured with a luminometer, in microsomes from lung homogenates at the end of the experiment. Compared with the histamine response of the control group, the Rrs response in the L-NAME 10 group was slightly less, while Ers changes were the same in the two groups. In contrast, L-NAME 15 was responsible for an increased Rrs response, the difference being significant (P < 0.05) only between 15 and 40 min after the aerosol (+114% vs. +85% in controls at the 20th min). The increase in Ers with L-NAME 15 was stronger and significantly larger (+71% vs. +42% in controls at the 20th min after the histamine aerosol, P < 0.001). The relatively greater effect of L-NAME on Ers than on Rrs suggests that NO predominantly modulates the response to histamine of the peripheral lung rather than that of the large airways. Furthermore, the effect of L-NAME on Rrs was completely abolished by L-arginine, while its effect on Ers was only partially reversed. This suggests that the changes in Ers are partly related to a hardly reversible phenomenon. Possibly, the mechanical changes are linked with the rise of OFR in the lung parenchyma, which were significantly higher in the L-NAME 15 group compared to the control group (P < 0.05).

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