Activity of gastric mucosal nitric oxide synthase in portal hypertensive gastropathy.Am J Gastroenterol. 1996 Mar; 91(3):535-8.AJ
The importance of portal hypertensive gastropathy, as a potentially bleeding lesion in cirrhotics with portal hypertension, has recently been appreciated. Histologically, dilation of the mucosal and submucosal vessels of the stomach is noted in this entity. The possibility of nitric oxide acting as a mediator for this mucosal vascular dilation has not been explored.
We determined, in a group of 10 male cirrhotic patients with esophageal varices and endoscopic changes consistent with severe portal hypertensive gastropathy (Group A), the gastric mucosal nitric oxide synthase activity. This was determined by measuring the rate of conversion of [3H]-arginine to [3H]-citrulline. Serum levels of nitrates and nitrites, the end products of nitric oxide, were also measured. The results were compared with those of a group of 10 male controls with no liver disease (Group B).
Gastric mucosal constitutive and inducible nitric oxide synthase levels were significantly higher in group A (125.4 +/- 4.3 and 259.7 +/- 5.5 pmol/mg protein/minute, respectively) than in group B (88 +/- 8.6 and 130.8 +/- 6.6 pmol/mg protein/minute, respectively) (p < 0.002 and < 0.0001, respectively). Serum nitrate/nitrite levels were 30.1 +/- 3.2 nmol/ml in group A and 15.5 +/- 0.09 nmol/ml in group B (p < 0.001).
We conclude that the significantly increased gastric mucosal nitric oxide synthase activity, in patients with portal hypertensive gastropathy, suggests an important role for nitric oxide in the pathogenesis of this mucosal lesion.