Intrarenal haemodynamics and renal dysfunction in endotoxaemia: effects of nitric oxide synthase inhibition

C G Millar, C Thiemermann
British Journal of Pharmacology 1997, 121 (8): 1824-30
1. This study investigated the effects of low dose endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) on (i) systemic haemodynamics, (ii) renal blood flow (RBF), (iii) renal cortical and medullary perfusion and (iv) renal function in the anaesthetized rat. We have also investigated the effects of nitric oxide (NO) synthase (NOS) inhibition with NG-methyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA) on the alterations in systemic and renal haemodynamics and renal function caused by endotoxin. 2. Infusion of low dose LPS (1 mg kg-1 over 30 min, n = 6) caused a late fall in mean arterial blood pressure (MAP, at 5 and 6 h after LPS), but did not cause an early (at 1-4 h after LPS) hypotension. The pressor effect of noradrenaline (NA, 1 microgram kg-1, i.v.) was significantly reduced at 1 to 6 h after LPS (vascular hyporeactivity). Infusion of L-NMMA (50 micrograms kg-1 min-1 commencing 60 min before LPS and continued throughout the experiment, n = 7) abolished the delayed hypotension and significantly attenuated the vascular hyporeactivity to NA (at 2-6 h). 3. Infusion of LPS (1 mg kg-1 over 30 min, n = 6) caused a rapid (within 2 h) decline in renal function (measured by inulin clearance) in the absence of a significant fall in MAP or renal blood flow (RBF). L-NMMA (n = 7) attenuated the impairment in renal function caused by LPS so that the inulin clearance in LPS-rats treated with L-NMMA was significantly greater than in LPS-rats treated with vehicle (control) at 3-6 h after infusion of LPS. 4. Endotoxaemia also caused a significant reduction in renal cortical, but not medullary perfusion (measured as Laser Doppler flux). Infusion of L-NMMA caused a significant further fall in cortical perfusion and a significant fall in medullary perfusion in the absence of changes in RBF. 5. Infusion of LPS resulted in a progressive increase in the plasma levels of nitrite/nitrate (an indicator of the formation of NO), so that the plasma concentration of nitrite/nitrate was significantly higher than baseline at 150 to 330 min after LPS. Infusion of L-NMMA attenuated the rise in the plasma concentration of nitrite/nitrate (at 270 and 330 min, P < 0.05) caused by LPS. 6. Thus, the renal dysfunction caused by injection of low dose of endotoxin in the rat occurs in the absence of significant falls in blood pressure or total renal blood flow. Inhibition of NOS activity with L-NMMA attenuates the renal dysfunction caused by endotoxin (without improving intrarenal haemodynamics), suggesting that an overproduction of NO may contribute to the development of renal injury and dysfunction by causing direct cytotoxic effects.

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