Effect of oxygen on relaxation of retinal pericytes by sodium nitroprusside

Ivan O. Haefliger, Qian Chen, Douglas R. Anderson

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29 Scopus citations


Background: This study addresses whether oxygen modulates the relaxation induced in retinal pericytes by sodium nitroprusside (SNP), a nitric oxide (NO) donor that stimulates the NO/guanylate cyclase pathway. Methods: Bovine retinal pericytes were cultured on silicone. On the silicone surface, basal pericyte contractile tone induces wrinkles. Drug-induced changes in pericyte contractile tone were assessed by changes in the number of wrinkles. The effects of 100% nitrogen (hypoxia) and 100% oxygen (hyperoxia) were studied on: (a) the basal tone of quiescent pericytes, (b) the relaxation to 3 and 10 μM SNP or 1 μM forskolin, and (c) the recontraction that followed the washout of 3 μM SNP or 1 μM forskolin. Results: Neither hypoxia nor hyperoxia had any apparent influence on pericyte basal tone, on forskolin-induced relaxation, or on pericyte recontraction after a forskolin-induced relaxation. In hypoxia, relaxations to SNP 3 μM (P < 0.05) and 10 μM (P < 0.01) were significantly more pronounced than in hyperoxia. Hypoxia also reduced the recontraction after an SNP-induced relaxation (P < 0.001). Conclusion: Oxygen modulates the relaxation of bovine retinal pericytes evoked by SNP (guanylate cyclase-mediated), but not the relaxation induced by forskolin (adenylate cyclase-mediated). These results suggest that in the retinal capillary circulation an interaction between oxygen and the NO/guanylate cyclase pathway modulates pericyte tone, and thus potentially blood flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-392
Number of pages5
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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