The role of nitrite in neurovascular coupling

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Brain research (Impact Factor: 2.83). 08/2011; 1407:62-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2011.06.045
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Nitric oxide (NO), a potent vasodilator and nontraditional neurotransmitter, is an important mediator of the changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) associated with increased neuronal activity (neurovascular coupling). In the present work, we investigated the role of NO and of its newly recognized precursor, nitrite, in neurovascular coupling using a well-established rat model of somatosensory stimulation. Biological synthesis of NO of neuronal origin was inhibited pharmacologically. Following the initial uncoupling of neuronal and hemodynamic responses to somatosensory stimulation, the NO donor sodium nitroprusside, added within the range of physiological concentrations, significantly increased, but did not fully restore the functional CBF response. In contrast, nitrite at its physiological concentration fully recovered neurovascular coupling to its original magnitude. The magnitude of the effect is, however, dose-dependent. Sub-physiological concentrations of nitrite were not enough to entirely restore neurovascular coupling and supra-physiological concentrations acted more as a local vasodilator that changed resting CBF and interfered with the functional CBF response. These results suggest that nitrite can be efficiently converted into NO and utilized to support normal cerebrovascular physiology.

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    ABSTRACT: Nitric oxide (NO) is a key signalling molecule in the regulation of cerebral blood flow. This review summarises current evidence regarding the role of NO in the regulation of cerebral blood flow at rest, under physiological conditions, and after brain injury, focusing on subarachnoid haemorrhage, traumatic brain injury, and ischaemic stroke and following cardiac arrest. We also review the role of NO in the response to hypoxic insult in the developing brain. NO depletion in ischaemic brain tissue plays a pivotal role in the development of subsequent morbidity and mortality through microcirculatory disturbance and disordered blood flow regulation. NO derived from endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) appears to have neuroprotective properties. However NO derived from inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) may have neurotoxic effects. Cerebral NO donor agents, for example sodium nitrite, appear to replicate the effects of eNOS derived NO, and therefore have neuroprotective properties. This is true in both the adult and immature brain. We conclude that these agents should be further investigated as targeted pharmacotherapy to protect against secondary brain injury. (C) 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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May 29, 2014