Nitric oxide control of lower vertebrate blood vessels by vasomotor nerves

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In mammals, much is understood about the endothelial and neural NO control mechanisms in the vasculature. In contrast, NO control of blood vessels in lower vertebrates is poorly understood, with the majority of research focusing on the presence of an endothelial NO system; however, its presence remains controversial. This study examined the mechanisms by which NO regulates the large blood vessels of non-mammalian vertebrates. In all species examined, the arteries and veins contained a plexus of NOS-positive perivascular nerves that included nerve bundles and fine, varicose nerve terminals. However, in the large arteries and veins of various species of fishes and amphibians, no anatomical evidence was found for endothelial NOS using both NADPH-diaphorase and eNOS immunohistochemistry. In contrast, perinuclear NOS staining was readily apparent in blue-tongue lizard, pigeon and rat, which suggested that eNOS first appeared in reptiles. Physiological analysis of NO signalling in the vascular smooth muscle of short-finned eel and cane toad could not find any evidence for endothelial NO signalling. In contrast, it appears that activation of the nitrergic vasomotor nerves is responsible for NO control of the blood vessels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188 - 197
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

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