Prostaglandin E1 and nitroglycerin effects on canine epicardial conductance and distal coronary resistance vessels

W. L. Miller, A. A. Bove

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3 Scopus citations


Prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) has been reported to be a coronary vasodilator and has been considered clinically in the treatment of coronary vasospasm, but its mechanism of action is not known. To evaluate the vasomotor effect of PGE1, epicardial coronary and distal resistance vessel responses were compared by PGE1 and nitroglycerin infusion into the left anterior descending (LAD) artery of the closed-chest dog. Coronary angiography and 133Xe washout flow measurements were used to quantitate proximal and distal vessel responses, respectively. To evaluate potential inhibitory actions, vessels were contracted by continuous LAD infusion of prostaglandin F(2α) (PGF(2α) or serotonin before dose-response testing with PGE1 or nitroglycerin. PGE1 alone produced a 20% dilation of the LAD in vivo but only with the highest dose (2.0 μg/min). PGE1, however, did not reverse epicardial vessel constriction induced by PGF(2α) or serotonin. LAD flows (resistance vessel response) were increased comparably by PGE1 alone and with PGF(2α) added (100 and 93% above control flow, respectively) but to a lesser extent with serotonin added (57% above control). In contrast, nitroglycerin completely reversed epicardial artery constrictions induced by PGF(2α) and serotonin. Our findings indicate that although PGE1 is a vasodilator in vivo, it does not demonstrate a major effect in dilating epicardial conductance coronary arteries and therefore may not be beneficial in antagonizing endogenous contractile factors in treatment of coronary vasospasm. PGE1 does increase coronary blood flow by dilating distal resistance vessels. The beneficial effects of PGE1 in humans with unstable angina therefore are probably not due to vasorelaxing effects on epicardial coronary conductance arteries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-267
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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