N(ω)-nitro-L-arginine constricts cerebral arterioles without increasing intracellular calcium levels

H. H. Dietrich, M. Kimura, R. G. Dacey

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27 Scopus citations


The coupling between intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+](i)) and smooth muscle cell (SMC) contractility is well known, but recent reports suggest that SMCs can contract without an increase in [Ca2+](i). Penetrating arterioles were isolated from rat cortex, cannulated, and loaded extraluminally with fura 2. We used ratio imaging of corresponding vessel wall areas to estimate and correlate [Ca2+](i) to the vessel diameter during various extraluminal treatments. Control diameter was 45.6 ± 3.9 (SE) μm with an estimated [Ca2+](i) of 181 ± 18 nM. Extraluminal papaverine or pH of 6.8 dilated the vessels to 61.0 ± 6.6 and 57.8 ± 5.8 μm and decreased [Ca2+](i) to 108 ± 33 and 155 ± 8 nM, respectively. Alkaline pH of 7.65 or the Ca2+ ionophore ionomycin constricted the arterioles to 34.8 ± 3.9 and 30.0 ± 5.8 μm and increased [Ca2+](i) to 273 ± 47 and 853 ± 155 nM, respectively. These results show an inverse relationship between vessel diameter and [Ca2+](i). Blocking the production of endothelium- derived nitric oxide (EDNO) with N(ω)-nitro-L-arginine constricted the vessels to 34.4 ± 3.5 μm without raising but lowering [Ca2+](i) to 157 ± 44 nM. The dissociation of vessel tone and estimated [Ca2+](i) after EDNO blocking has not been reported before in cerebral arterioles and may indicate that EDNO regulates vascular tone in a Ca2+-independent manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1681-H1686
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 35-4
StatePublished - 1994


  • endothelium-derived relaxation factor
  • fura 2
  • image analysis
  • ionomycin
  • microcirculation
  • papaverine
  • rat
  • regulation
  • vascular smooth muscle


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