Nitric oxide (NO) plays a key role in regulating vascular tone. Mice overexpressing endothelial NO synthase [eNOS-transgenic (Tg)] have a 20% lower systemic vascular resistance (SVR) than wild-type (WT) mice. However, because eNOS enzyme activity is 10 times higher in tissue homogenates from eNOS-Tg mice, this in vivo effect is relatively small. We hypothesized that the effect of eNOS overexpression is attenuated by alterations in NO signaling and/or altered contribution of other vasoregulatory pathways. In isoflurane-anesthetized open-chest mice, eNOS inhibition produced a significantly greater increase in SVR in eNOS-Tg mice compared with WT mice, consistent with increased NO synthesis. Vasodilation to sodium nitroprusside (SNP) was reduced, whereas the vasodilator responses to phosphodiesterase-5 blockade and 8-bromo-cGMP (8-Br-cGMP) were maintained in eNOS-Tg compared with WT mice, indicating blunted responsiveness of guanylyl cyclase to NO, which was supported by reduced guanylyl cyclase activity. There was no evidence of eNOS uncoupling, because scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced even less vasodilation in eNOS-Tg mice, whereas after eNOS inhibition the vasodilator response to ROS scavenging was similar in WT and eNOS-Tg mice. Interestingly, inhibition of other modulators of vascular tone [including cyclooxygenase, cytochrome P-450 2C9, endothelin, adenosine, and Ca-activated K+channels] did not significantly affect SVR in either eNOS-Tg or WT mice, whereas the marked vasoconstrictor responses to ATP-sensitive K+and voltage-dependent K+channel blockade were similar in WT and eNOS-Tg mice. In conclusion, the vasodilator effects of eNOS overexpression are attenuated by a blunted NO responsiveness, likely at the level of guanylyl cyclase, without evidence of eNOS uncoupling or adaptations in other vasoregulatory pathways. Copyright

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American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Deel, E., Merkus, D., de Waard, M., van Haperen, R., de Crom, R., & Duncker, D. (2007). Vasomotor control in mice overexpressing human endothelial nitric oxide synthase. American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 293(2). doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00773.2006