Endogenous nitric oxide protects against platelet aggregation and cyclic flow variations in stenosed and endothelium-injured arteries.
BACKGROUND This study was designed to test the hypothesis that endogenously produced nitric oxide protects against platelet aggregation and cyclic flow variations in stenosed and endothelium-injured arteries of mongrel dogs.
METHODS AND RESULTS NG-Monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), an inhibitor of nitric oxide formation, was administered at 5 mg/kg to 15 dogs after the left anterior descending coronary artery was mechanically injured and narrowed by external constrictors and to nine dogs before endothelial injury of the femoral artery and after injury and moderate arterial constriction. Treatment with L-NMMA resulted in cyclic flow variations (as detected by external Doppler flow probes) in the left anterior descending artery of seven of 15 dogs and in the femoral artery of four of nine dogs after endothelial injury. L-Arginine, the precursor for nitric oxide synthesis, was administered at 60 mg/kg and abolished cyclic flow variations in each of the 11 dogs. D-Arginine did not change the L-NMMA-induced cyclic flow variations. Saline infusion did not induce or change cyclic flow variations in any of the animals. Acetylcholine (1, 10, and 100 micrograms/min; n = 9) was administered in the femoral artery of nine additional dogs before and after endothelial injury in moderately stenosed femoral arteries. Acetylcholine did not induce cyclic flow variations in any animal; however, it did increase the severity of cyclic flow variations that developed in severely stenosed arteries. The diameter of the femoral artery was measured by intravascular ultrasound imaging. L-NMMA caused vasoconstriction of normal arteries, but no change was detected in endothelium-injured arteries. In contrast, L-arginine caused vasodilation of normal arteries, but, again, no change was noted in endothelium-injured arteries. Acetylcholine dilated normal femoral arteries but constricted arteries with endothelial injury. In both in vitro and ex vivo platelet studies, L-NMMA enhanced platelet aggregation, whereas L-arginine significantly reduced platelet aggregation. D-Arginine and acetylcholine showed no effect on platelet aggregation.
CONCLUSIONS Promotion of nitric oxide production decreases platelet aggregation and may eliminate cyclic flow variations, whereas a reduction in nitric oxide formation enhances platelet aggregation and may induce cyclic flow variations. Acetylcholine causes vasoconstriction at the femoral arterial site of endothelial injury and may increase the severity of cyclic flow variations.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association