Nitric Oxide Synthase Activity and Renal Injury in Genetic Hypertension

Hiroshi Hayakawa, Leopoldo Raij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide (NO) is an endogenous vasodilator synthesized in the endothelium by constitutive NO synthase (cNOS). We have shown that upregulation of cNOS activity in hypertension may contribute to forestalling left ventricular and aortic hypertrophy (Hypertension. 29: 235, 1997). NO has been shown to inhibit growth-related responses affecting vascular smooth muscle, and mesangial cells, as well as reduce production of extracellular matrix in response to injury. Here, we investigated the relationship between renal cNOS activity (conversion of [14C] L-arginine to [14C] L- citrulline) and glomerular (GIS) and tubulointerstitial (TIS) injury scores and urinary protein excretion, indices of renal injury, in age and blood pressure matched spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR, SBP 220 ± 9 mm Hg) fed 0.5% NaCl diet and Dahl salt-sensitive (DS) rats fed 4% NaCl diet (DS- 4%, SBP 228 ± 8 mm Hg) as well as their normotensive counterparts Wistar Kyoto rats fed 0.5% NaCl diet (WKY, 137 ± 3 mm Hg) and DS rats fed 0.5% NaCl diet (DS-0.5%, SBP 135 ± 4 mm Hg). In SHR, renal medullary cNOS activity was 89% higher than in WKY (8.91 ± 0.98 vs 4.71 ± 0.37 nmol/min/g protein, P<0.05) whereas, in hypertensive DS-4% rats cNOS activity was 43% lower than in DS-0.5% rats (1.98 ± 0.16 vs 3.48 ± 0.29 nmol/min/g protein, P<0.05). Renal cortical cNOS was lower than in medulla but similar in all groups; inducible NOS activity was not detected. Despite hypertension of similar severity and duration, hypertensive DS-4% developed 9 fold more GIS (190 ± 42 vs 21 ± 11), 20 fold more TIS (4.0 ± 0.7 vs 0.2 ± 0.3), and 5 fold more proteinuria (54 ± 11 vs 8.5 ± 3.0 mg/day), all P<0.05. The current studies, in conjunction with our recent studies in heart and aorta, strongly suggest that in hypertension, increased cNOS activity may provide a protective homeostatic role in all the end-organs that are targets of hypertensive injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-270
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Glomerular injury
  • Hypertension
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Rats, Dahl
  • Rats, inbred, SHR
  • Renal tubulo-interstitial injury
  • Salt sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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