Chronic EDRF inhibition and hypoxia: Effects on pulmonary circulation and systemic blood pressure

V. Hampl, S. L. Archer, D. P. Nelson, E. K. Weir

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110 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that chronic hypoxic pulmonary hypertension results from chronic hypoxic inhibition of endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) synthesis. We tested this hypothesis by studying whether chronic EDRF inhibition by N(ω)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) would induce pulmonary hypertension similar to that found in chronic hypoxia. L-NAME (1.85 mM) was given for 3 wk in drinking water to rats living in normoxia or hypoxia. Unlike chronic hypoxia, chronic L-NAME treatment did not increase pulmonary arterial pressure. Cardiac output was reduced and mean systemic arterial pressure was increased by chronic L-NAME treatment. The vascular pressure-flow relationship in isolated lungs was shifted toward higher pressures by chronic hypoxia and, to a lesser degree, by L-NAME intake. In isolated lungs, vasoconstriction in response to angiotensin II and acute hypoxia and vasodilation in response to sodium nitroprusside were increased by chronic L-NAME treatment in normoxia and chronic hypoxia. Chronic hypoxia, but not L-NAME, induced hypertensive pulmonary vascular remodeling. Chronic supplementation with the EDRF precursor L-arginine did not have any significant effect on chronic hypoxic pulmonary hypertension. We conclude that the chronic EDRF deficiency state, induced by L-NAME, does not mimic chronic hypoxic pulmonary hypertension in our model. In addition, EDRF proved to be less important for basal tone regulation in the pulmonary than in the systemic circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1748-1757
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993


  • arginine analogues
  • chronic hypoxia
  • endothelium-derived relaxing factor
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • pulmonary vascular reactivity


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