Long-term inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis with Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) induces coronary vascular remodeling in rats. To determine the pathogenic mechanism involved in vascular remodeling, we examined the effects of fasudil, a Rho-kinase inhibitor, on vascular lesion formation. In rats treated with L-NAME at 10 mg/kg/day, vascular remodeling was evident in both large and small coronary arteries at the fourth week. Fasudil (3 mg/kg, p.o., twice daily) markedly prevented the development of vascular remodeling in small coronary arteries. Coronary flow was measured in Langendorff perfused isolated heart preparations. Long-term treatment with L-NAME caused a significant decrease in coronary flow, which was significantly inhibited by fasudil. Fasudil suppressed the structural and functional changes in coronary arteries by chronic blockade of NO synthesis. Thus, the Rho-kinase pathway may be substantially involved in the pathogenesis of vascular remodeling in this rat model.
- Nitric oxide (NO)
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