Losartan increases NO release in afferent arterioles during regression of L-NAME-induced renal damage.
Inhibition of nitric oxide synthesis (NOS) induces hypertension and heavy proteinuria. Renal structure and function have shown striking improvement after interventions targeting ANG II or endothelin (ET) receptors in rats recovering after long-term NOS inhibition. To search for mechanisms underlying losartan-assisted regression of renal disease in rodents, we measured NO release and contractility to ET in afferent arterioles (AAs) from Sprague-Dawley rats recovering for 2 wk after 4 wk of N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester treatment. Losartan administration during the recovery period decreased blood pressure (113 ± 4 vs. 146 ± 5 mmHg, P < 0.01), reduced protein/creatinine ratio more (proteinuria decrease: ?1,836 ± 214 vs. ?1,024 ± 180 mg/mmol, P < 0.01), and normalized microvascular hypertrophy (AA media/lumen ratio: 1.74 ± 0.05 vs. 2.09 ± 0.08, P < 0.05) compared with no treatment. In diaminofluorescein-FM-loaded AAs from losartan-treated animals, NO release (% of baseline) was increased compared with untreated animals after stimulation with 10(-7) M ACh (118 ± 4 vs. 90 ± 7%, t = 560 s, P < 0.001) and 10(-9) M ET (123 ± 4 vs. 101 ± 5%, t = 560 s, P < 0.001). There was also a blunted contractile response to 10(-7) M ET in AAs from losartan-treated animals compared with untreated animals (?4.01 ± 2.9 vs. ?14.6 ± 1.7 ?m, P < 0.01), which disappeared after acute NOS inhibition (?10.7 ± 3.7 vs. ?12.5 ± 2.9 ?m, not significant). Contractile dose responses to ET (10(-9), 10(-8), 10(-7) M) were enhanced by NOS inhibition and blunted by exogenous NO (10(-2) mM S-nitroso-N-acetyl-penicillamine) in losartan-treated but not in untreated vessels. Reducing blood pressure similar to losartan with hydralazine did not improve AA hypertrophy, ET-induced contractility, ET-induced NO release, and NO sensitivity. In conclusion, blockade of the local action of ANG II improved endothelial function in AAs, a mechanism that is likely to contribute to the beneficial effects of AT(1a)R antagonism during the recovery of renal function after long-term NOS inhibition in rats.