Long-term inhibition of NO synthesis promotes atherosclerosis in the hypercholesterolemic rabbit thoracic aorta. PGH2 does not contribute to impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation

Naruse, K.; Shimizu, K.; Muramatsu, M.; Toki, Y.; Miyazaki, Y.; Okumura, K.; Hashimoto, H.; Ito, T.

Arteriosclerosis and Thrombosis a Journal of Vascular Biology 14(5): 746-752


ISSN/ISBN: 1049-8834
PMID: 8172852
DOI: 10.1161/01.atv.14.5.746
Accession: 008971108

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We examined whether prostaglandin (PG) H2, as an endothelium-dependent contracting factor, or the disturbed production of endothelium-derived relaxing factor, impairs endothelium-dependent relaxation and whether long-term inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis aggravates atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic rabbits. Male New Zealand White rabbits were fed one of the following diets: (1) standard chow; (2) 2% cholesterol-supplemented chow; (3) standard chow with 80 micrograms/mL N omega-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME), an NO synthetase inhibitor, in their drinking water; or (4) 2% cholesterol-supplemented chow with 80 or 160 micrograms/mL L-NAME in their drinking water. The rabbits were fed these diets for 8 or 12 weeks. Then aortic rings were obtained, and changes in isometric tension were recorded. Intimal atherosclerotic areas of the thoracic aortas were subsequently measured by planimetry. The cholesterol-supplemented diet significantly impaired endothelium-dependent aortic relaxation to acetylcholine. Pretreatment with the thromboxane A2/PGH2 receptor antagonist ONO-3708 did not reverse this impaired response. Vessels from both normocholesterolemic and hypercholesterolemic rabbits given L-NAME showed more impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation than those from their dietary counterparts not given L-NAME. Morphometric analysis revealed marked enlargement of intimal atherosclerotic areas in aortas from L-NAME-treated hypercholesterolemic rabbits compared with those from untreated hypercholesterolemic rabbits. These findings suggest that PGH2 does not contribute to impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation and that long-term administration of L-NAME promotes atherosclerosis by inhibition of NO synthesis in the hypercholesterolemic rabbit thoracic aorta.