1. It has been reported that octreotide partially corrects the hyperdynamic state in patients and animals with portal hypertension. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether chronic administration of octreotide can increase vascular responsiveness in rats with portal hypertension.

2. Portal hypertension was induced by partial portal vein ligation. Octreotide was given for 9 days subcutaneously (100 μg/kg every 12 h) starting 1 day before ligation. The aorta and mesenteric artery were then removed to study contraction after pressure recording.

3. Octreotide treatment significantly reduced portal pressure and plasma glucagon concentrations compared with the vehicle-treated group. Both phenylephrine and vasopressin induced concentration-dependent contractile responses in the aorta and mesenteric artery from both groups. The maximum contractile responses to phenylephrine and vasopressin in aorta and mesenteric artery were significantly greater in the octreotide-treated group than in the vehicle-treated group. The EC50 values for phenylephrine and vasopressin were significantly different in the aorta, but not in the mesenteric artery, between the two groups. In contrast, octreotide treatment did not alter the contractile responsiveness of arteries from sham-operated rats.

4. These results show that, in rats with portal vein stenosis, octreotide increases arterial contractile responsiveness and reduces portal pressure.

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