Vasorelaxant effects of a nitric oxide-releasing aspirin derivative in normotensive and hypertensive rats
Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been reported to exacerbate hypertension and to interfere with the effectiveness of some anti-hypertensive therapies. In this study, we tested the effects of a gastric-sparing, nitric oxide-releasing derivative of aspirin (NCX-4016) on hypertension in rats. 2. Hypertension was induced by administering L-NAME in the drinking water (400 mg l(-1)). Groups of rats were treated daily with aspirin, NCX-4016 or vehicle. 3. NCX-4016 significantly reduced blood pressure relative to the aspirin-treated group over the 2-week period of treatment. Aspirin and, to a lesser extent, NCX-4016 suppressed whole blood thromboxane synthesis. 4. In anaesthetized rats, acute intravenous administration of NCX-4016 caused a significant fall in mean arterial pressure in hypertensive rats, but was devoid of such effects in normotensive controls. 5. In vitro, NCX-4016 relaxed phenylephrine-pre-contracted aortic rings obtained from both normotensive and hypertensive rats, and significantly reduced their responsiveness to the contractile effects of phenylephrine. 6. These results suggest that NCX-4016 reduces blood pressure in hypertensive rats, not simply through the direct vasodilatory actions of the nitric oxide released by this compound, but also through possible interference with the effects of endogenous pressor agents. These properties, added to its anti-thrombotic effects, suggest that NCX-4016 may be a safer alternative to aspirin for use by hypertensive patients.