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The role of nitric oxide in the regulation of the systemic and pulmonary vasculature of the rattlesnake, Crotalus durissus terrificus (Crotalus durissus).

Galli GLJ, Skovgaard N, Taylor EW, Abe AS, Conlon JM and Wang T (2005).: J. Comp. Physiol. B, 175: 201-208

Click for Abstract : The functional role of nitric oxide (NO) was investigated in the systemic and pulmonary circulations of the South American rattlesnake,�Crotalus durissus terrificus. Bolus, intra-arterial injections of the NO donor, sodium nitroprusside (SNP) caused a significant systemic vasodilatation resulting in a reduction in systemic resistance (Rsys). This response was accompanied by a significant decrease in systemic pressure and a rise in systemic blood flow. Pulmonary resistance (Rpul) remained constant while pulmonary pressure (Ppul) and pulmonary blood flow (Qpul) decreased. Injection of�L-Arginine (L-Arg) produced a similar response to SNP in the systemic circulation, inducing an immediate systemic vasodilatation, while Rpul was unaffected. Blockade of NO synthesis via the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, L-NAME, did not affect haemodynamic variables in the systemic circulation, indicating a small contribution of NO to the basal regulation of systemic vascular resistance. Similarly, Rpul and Qpul remained unchanged, although there was a significant rise in Ppul. Via injection of SNP, this study clearly demonstrates that NO causes a systemic vasodilatation in the rattlesnake, indicating that NO may contribute in the regulation of systemic vascular resistance. In contrast, the pulmonary vasculature seems far less responsive to NO.

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