Nitric oxide, peroxynitrite and cGMP in atherosclerosis-induced hypertension in rabbits: Beneficial effects of cicletanine

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We studied the effect of the furopyridine derivative anti-hypertensive drug, cicletanine, on blood pressure, vascular nitric oxide (NO) and cyclic guanosine 3′:5′-monophosphate (cGMP) content in the aorta and the renal and carotid arteries, aortic superoxide production, and serum nitrotyrosine level in hypertensive/atherosclerotic rabbits. The effect of cicletanine was compared to that of furosemide. Rabbits were fed a normal or a cholesterol-enriched (1.5%) diet over 8 weeks. On the 8th week, the rabbits were treated per os with 2 × 50 mg/kg daily doses of cicletanine, furosemide, or vehicle for 5 days (n = 5-6 in each groups). The cholesterol diet increased mean arterial blood pressure (MABP) from 86 ± 1 to 94 ± 2 mm Hg (p < 0.05). Cicletanine decreased MABP in atherosclerotic rabbits to 85 ± 1 mm Hg (p < 0.05), but it did not affect MABP in normal animals. Furosemide was without effect in both groups. In normal animals, NO content (assessed by electron spin resonance after in vivo spin trapping) in the aorta and the renal and carotid arteries was increased by cicletanine, and the drug increased cGMP in the renal artery as measured by radioimmunoassay. The cholesterol-enriched diet decreased both vascular NO and cGMP and increased aortic superoxide production assessed by lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence and serum nitrotyrosine determined by ELISA. In atherosclerotic animals, cicletanine increased NO and cGMP content in the aorta and the renal and carotid arteries and decreased aortic superoxide production and serum nitrotyrosine. Furosemide did not influence these parameters. We conclude that cicletanine lowers blood pressure in hypertensive/atherosclerotic rabbits. The antihypertensive effect of the drug in atherosclerosis may be based on its beneficial effects on the vascular NO-cGMP system and on the formation of reactive oxygen species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vascular Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 6 2001



  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cholesterol diet
  • Cicletanine
  • Furosemide
  • Nitric oxide
  • Peroxynitrite
  • cGMP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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