Endothelial L-arginine pathway and relaxations to vasopressin in canine basilar artery

F. Cosentino, J. C. Sill, Z. S. Katusic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Experiments were designed to determine the role of the L-arginine pathway in endothelium-dependent relaxations to vasopressin. The effects of L- arginine analogues N(G)-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA), N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), and N(G)-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) on basal and vasopressin-induced activity of nitric oxide synthase were studied in isolated canine basilar arteries. Rings with and without endothelium were suspended for isometric tension recording in Krebs-Ringer bicarbonate solution bubbled with 94% O2-6% CO2 (37°C, pH 7.4). Radioimmunoassay was used to determine the level of guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP). All experiments were performed in the presence of indomethacin, a cyclooxygenase inhibitor. L-NAME and L-NMMA caused endothelium-dependent contractions and inhibited basal production of cGMP. In contrast, L-NNA did not affect basal tone or basal production of cGMP. L-Arginine analogues inhibited relaxations to vasopressin but did not affect relaxations to a nitric oxide donor, molsidomine (SIN-1). The effects of L-NNA, L-NAME, and L- NMMA were reversed in the presence of L-arginine. The relaxations to vasopressin were associated with an increase of cGMP levels in the arterial wall. This effect of vasopressin was inhibited in the presence of L-NNA. These studies suggest that the relaxations to vasopressin are mediated by activation of the endothelial L-arginine pathway, leading to increased production of nitric oxide, with subsequent activation of guanylate cyclase in smooth muscle cells. In canine basilar artery, L-NAME and L-NMMA are nonselective inhibitors of both basal and stimulated production of nitric oxide, whereas L-NNA selectively inhibits vasopressin-induced activation of the L-arginine pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H413-H418
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2 33-2
StatePublished - 1993


  • cerebral arteries
  • endothelium- derived relaxing factor
  • guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate
  • nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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