Terlipressin inhibits in vivo aortic iNOS expression induced by lipopolysaccharide in rats with biliary cirrhosis



In cirrhosis, lipopolysaccharide (LPS, a product of Gram-negative bacteria) in the blood may cause septic shock. LPS-elicited induction of arterial inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) results in nitric oxide (NO)-induced vasodilation, which causes arterial hypotension and hyporeactivity to α1-adrenergic constrictors. In vitro studies have suggested that vasopressin inhibits iNOS expression in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells exposed to LPS. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects of terlipressin administration (a vasopressin analog) on in vivo LPS-induced aortic iNOS in rats with cirrhosis. LPS (1 mg/kg, intravenously) was administered followed by the intravenous administration of terlipressin (0.05 mg/kg, intravenously) or placebo 1 hour later. Arterial pressure was measured, and contractions to phenylephrine (an α1-adrenoceptor agonist), iNOS activity, and iNOS expressions (mRNA and protein) were investigated in isolated aortas. LPS-induced arterial hypotension and aortic hyporeactivity to phenylephrine were abolished in rats that received terlipressin. LPS-induced aortic iNOS activity and expression were suppressed in terlipressin-treated rats. In conclusion, in LPS-challenged rats with cirrhosis, terlipressin administration inhibits in vivo LPS-induced aortic iNOS expression. Terlipressin administration may be a novel approach for the treatment of arterial hypotension and hyporeactivity to α1-adrenergic constrictors in patients with cirrhosis and septic shock.