We have previously demonstrated that arginine vasopressin (AVP) dilates the preconstricted pulmonary vasculature via the release of nitric oxide (NO). However, recent evidence suggests that NO release in response to other agents may be suppressed in lungs from animals that have been chronically exposed to hypoxia. The purpose of the present experiment was to determine whether vasopressinergic pulmonary vasodilation is similarly affected by chronic exposure to hypoxia (barometric pressure = 380 Torr for 4 wk). Inhibition of NO synthesis with N omega-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA) had no effect on baseline perfusion pressure in isolated salt-perfused lungs from either control or chronically hypoxic rats. Similarly, pulmonary vasodilatory responses to AVP and the calcium ionophore A23187 were unaffected by chronic hypoxic exposure. Pretreatment with the cyclooxygenase inhibitor meclofenamate did not alter vasopressinergic pulmonary vasodilation in lungs from either control or chronically hypoxic animals, ruling out involvement of vasodilator prostaglandins in the response to AVP. In contrast, vasodilatory responses to both AVP and A23187 were inhibited by L-NNA pretreatment not only in lungs from control animals but also in lungs from chronically hypoxic rats, suggesting the involvement of NO in the vasodilatory response. The inhibition by L-NNA was reversible by prior addition of excess L-arginine but not by D-arginine. In addition, vasodilatory responses to the endothelium-independent vasodilators sodium nitroprusside and isoproterenol were unaffected by chronic hypoxic exposure. We conclude that endothelium-dependent vasodilation remains intact in male Sprague-Dawley rats after chronic hypoxic exposure.
- Copyright © 1993 the American Physiological Society