Endothelium-independent relaxation of aortic rings by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor diphenyleneiodonium

Jeffrey M. Dodd, Gemin Zheng, Howard S. Silverman, Edward G. Lakatta, Roy C. Ziegelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


1. The flavoprotein binder diphenyleneiodonium (DPI) is a potent, irreversible inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), but produces only a transient presser response following systemic administration to animals, despite evidence of persistent NOS inhibition. To characterize further the effects of DPI on vascular tone, isometric tension was recorded from rat isolated aortic rings mounted between steel wires in an organ bath. 2. The NOS inhibitor N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 1 mM) initiated an additional contraction of prostaglandin F(2α)-preconstricted rings with endothelium which was sustained throughout the period of L-NAME exposure (+234 ± 39% at 15 min). In contrast, addition of DPI (5 μM) to rings with endothelium produced a transient initial contraction (+111 ± 27% at 2 min) followed by a more sustained relaxation (-27 ± 19% at 15 min, P < 0.001 vs L-NAME). 3. The contraction to DPI was also observed in rings without endothelium, was abolished by L-NAME pretreatment, and was unaffected by the α-adrenoreceptor inhibitor prazosin. Relaxation in response to DPI was not inhibited by endothelium removal or by pretreatment with either L-NAME or with the ATP-sensitive potassium channel blocker glibenclamide. 4. The endothelium-independent relaxation to DPI was inhibited at 23°C and its time course was delayed by pretreatment with the guanylate cyclase inhibitor methylene blue. 5. Thus, in addition to a transient initial contraction due to NOS inhibition, DPI produces an endothelium-independent, temperature-dependent relaxation which appears in part due to activation of guanylate cyclase. This relaxant effect of DPI may explain the transient nature of its presser effect in vivo despite sustained NOS inhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-864
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997


  • Diphenyleneiodonium
  • Endothelium
  • Guanylate cyclase
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Vasodilatation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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