Hypoxia-evoked vasodilatation is a fundamental regulatory mechanism that is often attributed to adenosine. The identity of the O(2) sensor is unknown. Nitric oxide (NO) inhibits endothelial mitochondrial respiration and ATP generation by competing with O(2) for its binding site on cytochrome oxidase. We proposed that in vivo this interaction allows endothelial cells to release adenosine when O(2) tension falls or NO concentration increases. Using anaesthetised rats, we confirmed that the increase in femoral vascular conductance (FVC, hindlimb vasodilatation) evoked by systemic hypoxia is attenuated by NO synthesis blockade with L-NAME, but restored when baseline FVC is restored by infusion of NO donor. This "restored" hypoxic response, like the control hypoxic response, is inhibited by the adenosine A(1) receptor antagonist 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine. Similarly, the FVC increase evoked by adenosine infusion was attenuated by L-NAME but restored by infusion of NO donor. However, when baseline FVC was restored after L-NAME with 8-bromo-cGMP, the FVC increase evoked by adenosine infusion was restored, but not in response to systemic hypoxia, suggesting that adenosine was no longer released by hypoxia. Infusion of NO donor at a given rate after treatment with L-NAME evoked a greater FVC increase during systemic hypoxia than during normoxia, both responses being reduced by 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine. Finally, both bradykinin and NO donor released adenosine from superfused endothelial cells in vitro; L-NAME attenuated only the former response. We propose that in vivo, shear-released NO increases the apparent K(m) of endothelial cytochrome oxidase for O(2), allowing the endothelium to act as an O(2) sensor, releasing adenosine in response to moderate falls in O(2).
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||The Journal of Physiology|
|Issue number||Pt 2|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Jan 2003|