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