Chronic inhibition of nitric oxide production accelerates neointima formation and impairs endothelial function in hypercholesterolemic rabbits.
To determine if endogenous local levels of nitric oxide (NO) modulate atherogenesis, we studied the effect of inhibiting NO with NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) on early neointima formation in cholesterol-fed rabbits. Male rabbits were fed for 5 weeks with a 0.5% cholesterol diet alone or treated in addition during the last 4 weeks with L-NAME (12 mg/kg per day SC) via osmotic minipump. Endothelial cell function was assessed in isolated aortic rings by vascular reactivity and levels of cyclic GMP. In L-NAME-treated rabbits there was inhibition of endothelium-dependent relaxations to acetylcholine and the calcium ionophore A23187 as well as impaired cyclic GMP accumulation in response to acetylcholine. Neointima formation in the ascending thoracic aorta was assessed by determining media and intima cross-sectional areas with computerized image analysis. Compared with rabbits that consumed the cholesterol diet alone, L-NAME-treated rabbits had significant increases in lesion area (0.29 +/- 0.04 versus 0.15 +/- 0.03 mm2) and in lesion/media ratio (0.06 +/- 0.01 versus 0.03 +/- 0.01). Plasma levels of cholesterol and fluorescent lipid peroxide products were unchanged, suggesting no difference in cholesterol metabolism or oxidation. Because arterial blood pressure was not altered by L-NAME treatment, the increased atherogenesis could not be attributed to an increase in blood pressure. These results indicated that local inhibition of NO accelerates early neointima formation possibly because of modulating monocyte recruitment or foam cell lipid accumulation.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association