In the present study, we analysed possible alterations in adrenergic, nitrergic and sensory functioning in mesenteric arteries from rats at 1 and 21 months after partial portal vein ligation, and the mechanisms involved in these alterations, if any. For this purpose, we analysed the vasoconstrictor response to EFS (electrical field stimulation) and the effect of the α-antagonist phentolamine, the NOS (nitric oxide synthase) inhibitor L-NAME (NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester) and the CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) receptor antagonist CGRP-(8–37) in mesenteric segments from ST (short-term; 1 month) and LT (long-term; 21 months) SO (sham-operated) and pre-hepatic PH (portal hypertensive) rats. The vasomotor responses to NA (noradrenaline), the NO donor DEA-NO (diethylamine NONOate) and CGRP were analysed. NA, NO and CGRP releases were measured. Phospho-nNOS (neuronal NOS) expression was studied. The vasoconstrictor response to EFS was decreased in STPH animals. Phentolamine decreased this vasoconstrictor response more strongly in SO animals. Both L-NAME and CGRP-(8–37) increased vasoconstrictor response to EFS more strongly in PH than SO segments. PH did not modify vasomotor responses to NA, DEA-NO or CGRP, but it decreased NA release while increasing those of NO and CGRP. Phospho-nNOS expression was increased by PH. In LTPH, no differences were observed in vasoconstrictor response to EFS, vasomotor responses or neurotransmitter release when compared with age-matched SO animals. In conclusion, the mesenteric innervation may participate in the development of the characteristic hyperdynamic circulation observed in STPH through the joint action of decreased adrenergic influence, and increased nitrergic and sensory innervations influences. The participation of each innervation normalizes under conditions of LTPH.

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