Basal and stimulated nitric oxide in control of kidney function in the aging rat

Am J Physiol. 1997 Jun;272(6 Pt 2):R1747-53. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1997.272.6.R1747.


To investigate the activity of nitric oxide (NO) in control of renal hemodynamics during aging, studies were conducted on conscious Sprague-Dawley rats aged 3-5 mo (young, Y) and 18-22 mo (old, O). Blood pressure (BP) and renal vascular resistance (RVR) were higher in O vs. Y in control, and acute systemic NO synthesis inhibition (NOSI) increased BP and RVR, with an enhanced renal vasoconstrictor response in O. Infusion of the NO substrate L-arginine produced similar, selective renal vasodilation in both groups. The endothelium-dependent vasodilator acetylcholine caused similar falls in BP and RVR, whereas sodium nitroprusside produced an exaggerated depressor response in O vs. Y without falls in RVR in either age group. Urinary excretion of the stable NO oxidation products (NOx) decreased with age, suggesting a decline in the overall somatic NO production. In conclusion, basal tonically produced NO has a more pronounced role in maintenance of renal perfusion in aging, whereas L-arginine- and agonist-stimulated renal vasodilation is not impaired with age. NO production from some source may be reduced with aging, as indicated by falls in 24-h NOX excretion, although the similarity in pressor response and enhanced renal vasoconstrictor response to NOSI suggests that the role of NO in control of total peripheral and renal vascular resistance is maintained.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology
  • Arginine / pharmacology
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Male
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitroprusside / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Renal Circulation
  • Vascular Resistance
  • Vasoconstriction


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Nitroprusside
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Arginine
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Acetylcholine
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester