An arginine analog inhibits responses of both the endothelium and smooth muscle of canine in situ vein grafts

R. Y. Rhee, P. Gloviczki, V. M. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Increased shear, pressure, and oxygen tension in vein grafts may alter production of endothelium-derived vasoactive and anti-mitogenic factors such as nitric oxide which subsequently affect development of neointimal hyperplasia. This study was designed to determine whether or not nitric oxide mediates endothelium-dependent responses in femoral in situ vein grafts. Non-reversed, canine femoral vein grafts were placed bilaterally to bypass a ligated segment of the femoral artery in dogs. After 6 weeks, the grafts were removed, cut into rings, and suspended in organ chambers for measurement of isometric force. In some rings the endothelium was removed deliberately. In the presence of indomethacin, the synthetic analog of L-arginine, L-NG-monomethyl-arginine (10−4 M: L-NMMA) did not cause a significant change in baseline tension of rings with endothelium. L-NMMA reduced only contractions of rings with endothelium to the alpha-adrenergic agonist UK 14,304. The analog also reduced maximal relaxations to the calcium-ionophore, A23187 in rings with endothelium. In addition, L-NMMA reduced relaxations of rings without endothelium to adenosine diphosphate by 35%. Positive immunostaining for nitric oxide synthase was present in both the myointima and media of histological sections of grafts. In conclusion, these results suggest that in situ vein grafts exhibit two unique properties which are unlike unoperated arteries or veins: (i) alpha2-adrenergic receptors may be coupled to the release of contractile endothelium-derived factors associated with production of nitric oxide; and (ii) nitric oxide may be released by the smooth muscle in response to purinergic stimulation. The presence of nitric oxide synthase throughout the wall of the graft may result in production of nitric oxide in response to adenosine diphosphate released by platelets and to circulating catecholamines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-175
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1997


  • L-NMMA
  • UK 14,304
  • adenosine diphosphate
  • calcium ionophore A23187
  • endothelium
  • nitric oxide
  • smooth muscle
  • vein grafts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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