Iodinated contrast media (CM) can induce apoptosis and necrosis of renal tubular cells. The injuries of endothelial cells induced by CM on the systemic condition have not been fully understood. To assess the toxic effects of non-ionic CM on the glomerular and aortic endothelial cells, iopromide and iodixanol, two kinds of representative non-ionic CM, were used for the in vivo study. Sixty aged rats were respectively received the agents or normal sodium intravascularly. No obvious apoptosis and morphological change was detected in the glomerular and aortic endothelial cells apart from renal tubules after CM administration. However, expressions of the nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in glomerular endothelium were decreased at 12h after CM injection. Furthermore, plasma creatinine and endothelin-1 were increased and plasma nitric oxide (NO) was decreased significantly after CM administration. However, we failed to observe the significant increase of plasma von Willebrand Factor. These results suggest that non-ionic iodinated CM do not induce apoptosis and necrosis of glomerular and aortic endothelial cells in vivo. Decreased eNOS expression and increased plasma endothelin-1 may be involved in non-ionic iodinated CM-induced endothelial dysfunction and kidney injury.
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