Mechanism mediating hypertension induced by chronic inhibition of nitric oxide synthesis

Xiuping Li, Shigekazu Yuasa, Hirofumi Hitomi, Mayuko Hashimoto, Hiroshi Fujioka, Hideyasu Kiyomoto, Kouichi Uchida, Tetsuo Shoji, Norihiro Takahashi, Hirohide Matsuo

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Although the inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis is known to induce systemic hypertension, the underlying mechanisms mediating this type of hypertension are incompletely understood. In the present study we investigated the influence of sodium intake on the pressor effect of long-term administration of the NO synthesis inhibitor, NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 16mg/dl in drinking fluid for 8 weeks), in conscious Sprague-Dawley rats. Urinary excretion rates of catecholamine during NO synthesis inhibition were also examined. Long-term administration of L-NAME produced a sustained elevation in tail-cuff pressure without altering urine flow, or sodium excretion rate. L-NAME-induced hypertension was accompanied by a decreased urinary excretion of the stable NO metabolites, NO 2- and NO3- and was aggravated when rats drank 0.9% saline in place of tap water. Thus, inhibition of NO synthesis resulted in a rightward shift of the pressure natriuresis relationship and a significant decrease in the slope of this relationship. Urinary excretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine, but not that of dopamine, in L-NAME-treated rats significantly increased within the first week of the study when compared with those observed in control rats. A natriuretic index of the sympathetic nervous system, the ratio of dopamine to norepinephrine excretion, was significantly less in L-NAME-treated rats than in control rats. After 8-week treatment with L-NAME, renal morphologic evaluation revealed significant narrowing and obliteration of the arterioles. L-arginine (2 g/dl in drinking fluid) completely reversed the elevation of blood pressure as well as the decrease in urinary NO2- and NO3- excretion and the increased urinary excretion of catecholamines associated with L-NAME treatment after 3 weeks of concomitant administration. These results suggest that the inhibition of chronic NO synthesis produces sodium-sensitive hypertension and that changes in sympathetic nerve activity may. at least in part contribute to the sodium sensitivity in this type of hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-727
Number of pages10
JournalJapanese Journal of Nephrology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Dec 1


  • Hypertension
  • Nitric oxide
  • Sodium sensitivity
  • Sympathetic nerve activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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