Tetrandrine ameliorates cirrhosis and portal hypertension by inhibiting nitric oxide in cirrhotic rats

J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2004;24(4):385-8, 395. doi: 10.1007/BF02861874.


To examine the role and effect of nitric oxide synthase type II (NOS II) in cirrhotic rats, expression of NOS II mRNA was detected by real time RT-PCR. The enzymatic activity of nitric oxide synthase and the circulating levels of NO, systemic and portal hemodynamics and quantification of cirrhosis were measured. Chinese traditional medicine was used to treat cirrhotic rats and the effect of NO was evaluated. Double-blind method was used in experiment. Our results showed the concentration of NO and the enzymatic activity of NOS increased markedly at all stages of cirrhosis and iNOSmRNA was strongly expressed. Meanwhile, the portal-venous-pressure (PVP) and portal-venous-flow (PVF) were significantly increased. NO, NOS and iNOSmRNA were positively correlated to the degree of hepatic fibrosis. Tetrandrine significantly inhibited NO production and the expression of iNOSmRNA. Our results suggested that increased hepatic expression of NOS II is one of the important factors causing cirrhosis and portal hypertension. Tetrandrine can significantly ameliorate cirrhosis and portal hypertension.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Alkaloids / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Benzylisoquinolines / pharmacology*
  • Benzylisoquinolines / therapeutic use
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use
  • Hypertension, Portal / drug therapy
  • Hypertension, Portal / metabolism*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Nitric Oxide / blood
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / biosynthesis*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzylisoquinolines
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • RNA, Messenger
  • tetrandrine
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nos2 protein, rat