Different susceptibility to the development of nitroglycerin tolerance in the arterial and venous circulation in humans. Effects of N-acetylcysteine administration.
BACKGROUND Tolerance to the effects of organic nitrates develops rapidly during continuous exposure to these drugs; its main mechanism seems to be an intracellular sulfhydryl group depletion. However, the relative susceptibility to the development of nitroglycerin tolerance of the arterial or venous circulation in humans is still a matter of dispute.
METHODS AND RESULTS Twenty patients with coronary artery disease underwent a continuous 24-hour nitroglycerin infusion followed by a bolus administration of N-acetylcysteine. Forearm blood flow (ml/100 ml/min) and venous volume (ml/100 ml) were measured by strain gauge plethysmography under control conditions, at the end of nitroglycerin titration, after 24-hour infusion, and after N-acetylcysteine; vascular resistance was calculated as mean cuff blood pressure divided by flow. After 24 hours of nitroglycerin infusion, the initial increase in venous volume was reduced 48% (p less than 0.01), whereas the acute effects on vascular resistance were not attenuated in the whole group. N-Acetylcysteine completely restored nitroglycerin venodilator effects in all 10 patients in whom attenuation of the venous effects was observed during the infusion period.
CONCLUSIONS The data indicate that the susceptibility to the development of nitrate tolerance in humans is higher in the venous than in the arterial circulation, and that the sulfhydryl group donor N-acetylcysteine is extremely effective in reversing nitroglycerin tolerance in the venous circulation in humans.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association