• cirrhosis;
  • endotoxin;
  • nitric oxide synthase;
  • nitric oxide;
  • portal hypertension;
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug


Background and Aims: Cirrhosis is associated with a hyperdynamic syndrome and arterial vasodilation that is related to nitric oxide (NO) synthase 3 overactivity. Septic shock is frequently associated with cirrhosis and with a vascular induction of NO synthase 2. The aims of this study were to compare the effects of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in normal and cirrhotic rats, and to test the effects of a-non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) coupled with a (NO) donor.

Methods: Cirrhotic rats received NO-flurbiprofen, flurbiprofen or vehicle followed by LPS or placebo 15 min later. The heart rate and mean arterial pressure of rats were monitered for 5 h. Thoracic aortic rings were removed and contracted with the use of norepinephrine. Nitric oxide synthase activity was measured in the aorta and stomach of cirrhotic rats.

Results: Arterial pressure decreased in cirrhotic rats in the vehicle/LPS and flurbiprofen/LPS groups. After LPS administration, the heart rate of rats increased in all groups. In the aortic rings, LPS induced hyporeactivity to norepinephrine in all groups except the NO-flurbiprofen group. This hyporeactivity was abolished after preincubation with Nw-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA). Nw-nitro-L-arginine had no effect on norepinephrine-induced vasoconstriction in the NO-flurbiprofen/LPS group. Nitric oxide synthase 2 activity in the stomach and aorta of cirrhotic rats was increased in each group except in the NO-flurbiprofen group after LPS administration. Pretreatment with NO–NSAID prevented aortic hyporeactivity to norepinephrine in cirrhotic rats treated with LPS as it probably inhibited the NO synthase 2 induction.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that NO-flurbiprofen has a beneficial hemodynamic effect in cirrhotic rats and may help to prevent LPS aortic hyporeactivity.