Dual immunosuppression enhances vasomotor injury: Interactive effect between endothelin-1 and nitric oxide bioavailability
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OBJECTIVE: Cyclosporine A and corticosteroids are associated with many side effects, such as endothelial dysfunction and transplant vasculopathy. We examined the effects of cyclosporine A and hydrocortisone exposure on endothelial function of the rat thoracic aorta. METHODS: Lewis rats were injected with cyclosporine A, hydrocortisone, cyclosporine A + hydrocortisone, or intraperitoneal saline daily for 2 weeks. Endothelial-dependent and independent vascular relaxation were assessed in isolated segments of thoracic aorta, as well as endothelin-1-induced vasoreactivity. Protein expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase, endothelin(A), and endothelin(B) receptors were also determined in the thoracic aorta. RESULTS: Exposure to cyclosporine A and cyclosporine A + hydrocortisone resulted in a reduction in endothelial-dependent vasorelaxation compared with control and hydrocortisone (P = .001). Cyclosporine A and hydrocortisone-treated rats demonstrated increased vasoreactivity to endothelin-1 compared with control, whereas cyclosporine A + hydrocortisone treatment resulted in a synergistic increase (P = .04). All treatment groups displayed a significant reduction in endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression compared with control (P = .001). Endothelin(A) receptor expression was increased in all treatment groups with a synergistic effect seen after cyclosporine A + hydrocortisone treatment. No differences were seen in endothelin(B) receptor expression. CONCLUSION: Cyclosporine A and hydrocortisone induce vasomotor dysfunction with a synergistic impairment observed after concomitant exposure. Our findings suggest that the resultant vasomotor dysfunction is the result of alterations in both nitric oxide and endothelin-1 regulation.
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