Effect of nitric oxide synthase inhibition on cardiovascular and hormonal regulation during pregnancy in the rat.Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2000 May; 78(5):423-7.CJ
Recent studies have shown that nitric oxide (NO) biosynthesis increases in pregnancy and that inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) induces some pathological processes characteristic of preeclampsia. The current project sought to study the effect of the NOS inhibitor Nomega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 10 microg x min(-1), sc for 7 days) on plasma volume, plasma atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), plasma endothelin-1 (ET), and plasma renin activity (PRA) during gestation in conscious rats. NOS inhibition caused mean arterial pressure to increase in both virgin and 21-day pregnant rats. Plasma volume fell in the pregnant rats [L-NAME, 4.5 +/- 0.3 mL x 100 g(-1) body wt. (n = 7) vs. D-NAME, 6.8 +/- 0.2 mL x 100 g(-1) body wt. (n = 10); P < 0.05] but not in the virgin rats [L-NAME, 4.3 +/- 0.1 mL x 100 g(-1) body wt. (n = 6) vs. D-NAME, 4.8 +/- 0.2 mL x 100 g(-1) body wt. (n = 8)]. There was no effect of NOS inhibition on plasma ANF levels or PRA in either the virgin or pregnant rats. However, L-NAME did decrease plasma ET levels in the pregnant rats [L-NAME, 19.6 +/- 1.6 pg x mL(-1) (n = 8) vs. D-NAME, 11.6 +/- 2.5 pg x mL(-1) (n = 9); P < 0.05]. Our results confirm that NO is involved in cardiovascular homeostasis in pregnancy; NOS inhibition selectively reduces plasma volume in pregnant rats, thus mimicking a major pathophysiological perturbation of preeclampsia. However, it does not induce the hormonal changes characteristic of preeclampsia, namely the decrease in PRA and increase in plasma ET and ANF levels.