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    ABSTRACT: The effects of thimerosal, a sulfhydryl oxidizing agent on nitrergic, endothelium-dependent and -independent relaxations were investigated to examine the possibility that the nitrergic neurotransmitter and endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) could be S-nitrosothiol or free nitric oxide (NO) in the isolated mouse corpus cavernosum. Thimerosal (5 x 10(-6)-2 x 10(-5) M) inhibited or almost abolished electrical field stimulation--(EFS, 30V, 0.5 ms, 15 sec, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 Hz), acetylcholine--(ACh, 5 x 10(-8)-1.25 x 10(-6) M), glyceryl trinitrate--(GTN, 3 x 10(-7)-3 x 10(-6) M), and S-nitrosoglutathione--(GSNO, 5 x 10(-6)-1.25 x 10(-4) M) induced relaxations. Thiomerosal inhibition seems to be specific to L-arginine NO pathways since it had no effect on acidified sodium nitrite--(10(-4)-5 x 10(-4) M), photoactivated sodium nitrite--(2 x 10(-4) M), isoprenaline--(10(-6) M), or papaverine--(10(-4) M) elicited relaxations. Moreover, the inhibitory effect of thimerosal on the nitrergic, ACh- or GTN-induced relaxations were partly reversed by sulfhydryl-containing compounds, L-cysteine (10(-3) M), dithiothreitol (10(-3) M), or glutathione (10(-3) M). However L-methionine (10(-3) M), which contains a methyl group on the sulphur atom, failed to restore the thimerosal inhibition. Thimerosal did not change the contraction produced by 10(-4) M NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester. These findings indicate that the nitrergic neurotransmitter as well as EDRF may not be free NO but NO-transferring molecules, probably S-nitrosothiols, in the mouse corpus cavernosum.
    No preview · Article · Jan 1999