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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 

Chronic inhibition of NO synthesis per se promotes structural intimal remodeling of the rat aorta.

OBJECTIVE : We characterized, using histomorphometry and transmission and scanning electron microscopy, the intimal remodeling of the thoracic aorta of normocholesterolemic young rats chronically-treated with N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME) and examined the question whether these changes were caused by the lack of NO per se or by the hypertension which L-NAME administration induces. METHODS : Male Wistar rats were divided randomly into three sets: control group, standard diet/L-NAME-treated group, and standard diet/L-NAME + captopril-treated group. RESULTS : The treatment of rats with L-NAME for 4 weeks resulted in increased blood pressure (by 32% at the end of the treatment) as compared with the control value and intimal remodeling comprising a continuous layer of enlarged endothelial cells with irregular nuclear and cytoplasmic contours, lying over a thickened layer of fibrocollagenous support tissue focally expanded with lymphomononuclear cells and mainly diffuse foci of smooth muscle cells. In addition, the NO synthase inhibition caused a marked thickened tunica intima (150% thicker than the control value) and a significantly augmented intima : media ratio (126% higher than the control value). On the other hand, captopril prevented hypertension in rats simultaneously treated with L-NAME as compared with controls, and induced intimal remodeling comprising the same qualitative changes as those observed in L-NAME-treated rats. The tunica intima of l-NAME + captopril-treated rats was moderately thickened (60% increase in comparison with that of controls and 65% thinner as compared with L-NAME-treated rats). In the same way, the mean intima : media ratio of rats concomitantly treated with L-NAME and captopril was moderately increased (45% more) as compared with controls and significantly lower in comparison with rats administered L-NAME alone (36% less). CONCLUSIONS : Chronic inhibition of NO synthesis per se promotes structural intimal remodeling of the rat aorta, which is potentiated by L-NAME-induced hypertension. Most important, the present findings favor the idea that blockade of NO synthesis by causing intimal remodeling might be a primary cause, as individual biologic phenomenon, in the development of an atherosclerotic plaque.[1]

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