Nitric oxide contributes to cerebrovascular shear-mediated dilatation but not steady-state cerebrovascular reactivity to carbon dioxide.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Cerebrovascular CO2 reactivity (CVR) is often considered a bioassay of cerebrovascular endothelial function. We recently introduced a test of cerebral shear-mediated dilatation (cSMD) that may better reflect endothelial function. We aimed to determine the nitric oxide (NO)-dependency of CVR and cSMD. Eleven volunteers underwent a steady-state CVR test and transient CO2 test of cSMD during intravenous infusion of the NO synthase inhibitor NG -monomethyl-l-arginine (l-NMMA) or volume-matched saline (placebo; single-blinded and counter-balanced). We measured cerebral blood flow (CBF; duplex ultrasound), intra-arterial blood pressure and PaCO2${P_{{\rm{aC}}{{\rm{O}}_{\rm{2}}}}}$ . Paired arterial and jugular venous blood sampling allowed for the determination of trans-cerebral NO2 - exchange (ozone-based chemiluminescence). l-NMMA reduced arterial NO2 - by ∼25% versus saline (74.3 ± 39.9 vs. 98.1 ± 34.2 nM; P = 0.03). The steady-state CVR (20.1 ± 11.6 nM/min at baseline vs. 3.2 ± 16.7 nM/min at +9 mmHg PaCO2${P_{{\rm{aC}}{{\rm{O}}_{\rm{2}}}}}$ ; P = 0.017) and transient cSMD tests (3.4 ± 5.9 nM/min at baseline vs. -1.8 ± 8.2 nM/min at 120 s post-CO2 ; P = 0.044) shifted trans-cerebral NO2 - exchange towards a greater net release (a negative value indicates release). Although this trans-cerebral NO2 - release was abolished by l-NMMA, CVR did not differ between the saline and l-NMMA trials (57.2 ± 14.6 vs. 54.1 ± 12.1 ml/min/mmHg; P = 0.49), nor did l-NMMA impact peak internal carotid artery dilatation during the steady-state CVR test (6.2 ± 4.5 vs. 6.2 ± 5.0% dilatation; P = 0.960). However, l-NMMA reduced cSMD by ∼37% compared to saline (2.91 ± 1.38 vs. 4.65 ± 2.50%; P = 0.009). Our findings indicate that NO is not an obligatory regulator of steady-state CVR. Further, our novel transient CO2 test of cSMD is largely NO-dependent and provides an in vivo bioassay of NO-mediated cerebrovascular function in humans. KEY POINTS: Emerging evidence indicates that a transient CO2 stimulus elicits shear-mediated dilatation of the internal carotid artery, termed cerebral shear-mediated dilatation. Whether or not cerebrovascular reactivity to a steady-state CO2 stimulus is NO-dependent remains unclear in humans. During both a steady-state cerebrovascular reactivity test and a transient CO2 test of cerebral shear-mediated dilatation, trans-cerebral nitrite exchange shifted towards a net release indicating cerebrovascular NO production; this response was not evident following intravenous infusion of the non-selective NO synthase inhibitor NG -monomethyl-l-arginine. NO synthase blockade did not alter cerebrovascular reactivity in the steady-state CO2 test; however, cerebral shear-mediated dilatation following a transient CO2 stimulus was reduced by ∼37% following intravenous infusion of NG -monomethyl-l-arginine. NO is not obligatory for cerebrovascular reactivity to CO2 , but is a key contributor to cerebral shear-mediated dilatation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hoiland, RL; Caldwell, HG; Carr, JMJR; Howe, CA; Stacey, BS; Dawkins, T; Wakeham, DJ; Tremblay, JC; Tymko, MM; Patrician, A; Smith, KJ; Sekhon, MS; MacLeod, DB; Green, DJ; Bailey, DM; Ainslie, PN

Published Date

  • March 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 600 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 1385 - 1403

PubMed ID

  • 34904229

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7793

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3751

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1113/jp282427


  • eng