Modulation of endothelium-derived nitric oxide in canine femoral veins

Virginia M. Miller, Dustan A. Barber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Experiments were designed to determine whether nitric oxide was the mediator of increased endothelium-dependent relaxations in veins proximal to an arteriovenous fistula. A fistula was prepared between femoral arteries and veins in dogs. After 6 wk, veins proximal to the fistula were removed, cut into rings, and suspended for the measurement of isometric force in organ chambers. In some rings the endothelium was removed deliberately. N(G)- monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) caused contraction in three of six fistula- operated veins with and without endothelium. In rings contracted submaximally with prostaglandin F(2α), acetylcholine and the α2-adrenergic agonist UK- 14,304 caused endothelium-dependent, concentration-dependent relaxations that were greater in fistula compared with sham-operated veins. These relaxations were reduced by L-NMMA. Calcium ionophore A23187 caused comparable endothelium-dependent relaxations in fistula- and sham-operated veins that were unaffected by L-NMMA. There were no differences in either calcium- dependent or -independent activity of nitric oxide synthase isolated from fistula- and sham-operated veins. Positive staining for nitric oxide synthase was present in both the endothelium and media of fistula-operated veins. These results indicate that nitric oxide mediates increased endothelium dependent relaxations to acetylcholine and α2-adrenergic agonists in fistula-operated veins. Therefore, chronic increases in blood flow and oxygen tension modify selectively receptor-coupled production of nitric oxide in endothelium and smooth muscle of veins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H668-H673
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2 40-2
StatePublished - Aug 1996


  • N(G)monomethyl-L-arginine
  • arteriovenous fistula
  • blood flow
  • nitric oxide synthase
  • shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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