Pentoxifylline possesses vasodilator properties, but little information is available on the mechanism of action explaining this vasodilator effect. The present experiments were designed to determine the effects of the compound on vascular smooth muscle, endothelium, and adrenergic nerves in rings of isolated canine blood vessels. Pentoxifylline did not affect basal tension in coronary and femoral arteries or in saphenous and mesenteric veins; it did not alter the rhythmic activity of the latter, but did not cause endothelium-independent relaxations of unstimulated basilar arteries. In coronary arteries and saphenous veins, but not femoral arteries contracted with prostaglandin F(2α), the compound caused relaxations which were not affected by propranolol or by removal of the endothelium. Pentoxifylline inhibited the endothelium-dependent contractions to the Ca2+-ionophore A23187 in the basilar artery. In saphenous veins (with endothelium), pentoxifylline did not inhibit responses to high K+, electrical stimulation of the adrenergic nerves, or exogenous norepinephrine (NE); it reduced contractions evoked by xylazine and hypoxia. In the basilar artery and the saphenous vein, the inhibitory effect of pentoxifylline was prevented by inhibitors of cyclooxygenase and thromboxane synthetase. These experiments suggest that the dilator properties of pentoxifylline in isolated canine blood vessels are primarily at the level of the vascular smooth muscle and may involve decreased production of, or reduced responsiveness to, endogenous thromboxanes.
- Adrenergic nerves
- Vascular smooth muscle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine