Flow may be a physiological stimulus of the endothelial release of nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandins (PGs). We tested the hypothesis that pressure- induced constriction of the glomerular afferent arteriole (Af-Art) is modulated by luminal flow via endothelial production of NO. We microdissected the terminal segment of an interlobular artery together with two Af-Arts, their glomeruli (GL) and efferent arterioles (Ef-Art). The two Af-Arts were perfused simultaneously from the interlobular artery, while one Ef-Art was occluded. Since the arteriolar perfusate contained 5% albumin, oncotic pressure built up in the glomerulus with the occluded Ef-Art and opposed the force of filtration, resulting in little or no flow through the corresponding Af-Art. Thus this preparation allowed us to observe free-flow and no-flow Af- Arts simultaneously during stepwise 30-mmHg increases in intraluminal pressure (from 30 to 120 mmHg). Pressure-induced constriction was weaker in free-flow than no-flow Af-Arts, with the luminal diameter decreasing by 11.1±1.7 and 25.6±2.3% (n = 30), respectively, at 120 mmHg. To examine whether flow modulates myogenic constriction through endothelium-derived NO and/or PGs, we examined pressure-induced constriction before and after (a) disruption of the endothelium, (b) inhibition of NO synthesis with N(w)- nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), or (c) inhibition of cyclooxygenase with indomethacin. Both endothelial disruption and L-NAME augmented pressure- induced constriction in free-flow but not no-flow Af-Arts, abolishing the differences between the two. However, indomethacin had no effect in either free-flow or no-flow Af-Arts. These results suggest that intraluminal flow attenuates pressure-induced constriction in Af-Arts via endothelium-derived NO. Thus flow-stimulated NO release may be important in the fine control of glomerular hemodynamics.
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