Objective: After intravenous (i.v.) injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) macrophages release nitric oxide (NO) due to the expression of the inducible NO synthase (iNOS). After LPS NO is abundantly produced also in the cardiovascular system and may contribute to the development of hypotension and shock. Since the immune response, the synthesis of NO and the regulation of blood pressure (BP) differ between males and females, in the present study the effect of LPS on BP, renal function, the plasma and urinary concentration of the metabolites of NO as well as the splenic and aortic expression of the iNOS gene were compared between male and female rats. Methods: BP and renal function were measured in anesthetized rats following the i.v. injection of LPS (E. coli, 4 mg/kg). The NO2/- and NO3/- (metabolites of NO=NO(x)) concentration was measured by the Griess reaction. The iNOS gene expression was studied by RT-PCR. Results: Four hours after LPS, BP of males (n=9) was reduced by 63±12 mmHg versus 10±4 in females (n=7, P<0.005). Aminoguanidine, a selective inhibitor of iNOS, prevented the reduction of BP in males. The plasma concentration of NO(x) (P(NO(x)), μM) was lower in hypotensive males (128±20) than in normotensive females (235±29, P<0.005). Males also exhibited lower urinary NO(x) excretion (U(NO(x))V) after LPS (P<0.001 vs. females). Prior castration of males provided protection against hypotension (fall of BP: -4±4 mmHg, n=6, P<0.02 versus males) and resulted in higher P(NO(x)) as well as U(NO(x))V (both P<0.001 versus males and not different from females). Prior ovariectomy (n=5) had no influence on the hemodynamic and NO(x) response to LPS. Male rats displayed enhanced aortic iNOS/beta-actin ratio relative to females after LPS (n=3 in each group, P<0.05). Conclusions: (1) Male gender may sensitize to LPS-induced shock and (2) sensitivity of males to endotoxin is associated with an attenuated, not exaggerated total rate of NO synthesis. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
- Nitric oxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)