Response of cultured cerebral artery smooth muscle cells to the nitric oxide vasodilators, nitroglycerin and sodium nitroprusside

Hong Tao, Li Ming Zhang, Manuel R. Castresana, Walter H. Newman, Samuel D. Shillcutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


We characterized the response of soluble guanylyl cyclase in smooth muscle cells cultured from cerebral vessels to the nitric oxide (NO)producing vasodilators, nitroglycerin (NTG) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) and determined the ability of these agents to induce tolerance. Smooth muscle cells were isolated from porcine basilar, anterior and middle cerebral, and internal carotid arteries. Following an initial series of experiments using NTG at various concentrations and times of exposure to determine conditions, concentration-response curves of intracellular guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cGMP) to NTG and SNP were determined in cells pretreated for 1 h with 100 μmol NTG to induce tolerance and compared with response curves in control cells. Basal cGMP levels were 2.1 ± 0.4 pmol/mg cell protein (n = 16). Both NTG and SNP increased cGMP in nontolerant cells, and SNP was more effective. Maximum concentrations of SNP (1 mmol/L) increased cGMP to 163 ± 5.9 pmol/mg versus 21 ± 2.4 pmol/mg for 1 mmol/L NTG (p < 0.01). Cells made tolerant to NTG were unresponsive to NTG up to 1 mmol/L but remained responsive to SNP. However, the response curve to SNP was significantly depressed by ~25%. Following washout of NTG in tolerant cells, the response of cGMP to SNP returned to control within 12 h, while response to NTG required 36 h. Similar experiments were conducted in cells initially made tolerant to SNP. These results indicate that cerebral artery smooth muscle cells in culture express a functioning soluble guanylyl cyclase and the enzymes that are necessary to metabolize NTG to NO. Prolonged exposure of the cells to NTG induced tolerance as well as cross-tolerance to SNP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1997



  • Cerebral arteries
  • Cultured smooth muscle cells
  • Nitroglycerin
  • Sodium nitroprusside
  • Soluble guanylyl cyclase
  • cGMP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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