✓ The authors sought to develop a model for assessing in vivo regulation of cerebral vasoregulation by nitric oxide (NO), originally described as endothelial-derived relaxing factor, and to use this model to establish the role of NO in the regulation of cerebral blood flow (CBF) in primates. By using regional intraarterial perfusion, the function of NO in cerebral vasoregulation was examined without producing confounding systemic physiological effects. Issues examined were: whether resting vasomotor tone requires NO; whether NO mediates vasodilation during chemoregulation and autoregulation of CBF; and whether there is a relationship between the degree of hypercapnia and hypotension and NO production. Twelve anesthetized (0.5% isoflurane) cynomolgus monkeys were monitored continuously for cortical CBF, PaCO2, and mean arterial pressure (MAP), which were systematically altered to provide control and experimental curves of chemoregulation (CBF vs. PaCO2) and autoregulation (CBF vs. MAP) during continuous intracarotid infusion of 1) saline and 2) an NO synthase inhibitor (NOSI), either l-n-monomethyl arginine or nitro l-arginine.
During basal conditions (PaCO2 of 38–42 mm Hg) NOSI infusion of internal carotid artery (ICA) reduced cortical CBF from 62 (saline) to 53 ml/100 g/per minute (p < 0.01), although there was no effect on MAP. Increased CBF in response to hypercapnia was completely blocked by ICA NOSI. The difference in regional (r)CBF between ICA saline and NOSI infusion increased linearly with PaCO2 when PaCO2 was greater than 40 mm Hg, indicating a graded relationship of NO production, increasing PaCO2, and increasing CBF. Diminution of CBF with NOSI infusion was reversed by simultaneous ICA infusion of l-arginine, indicating a direct role of NO synthesis in the chemoregulation of CBF.
Hypotension and hypertension were induced with trimethaphan camsylate (Arfonad) and phenylephrine at constant PaCO2 (40 ± 1 mm Hg). Autoregulation in response to changes in MAP from 50 to 140 mm Hg was unaffected by ICA infusion of NOSI.
In primates, cerebral vascular tone is modulated in vivo by NO; continuous release of NO is necessary to maintain homeostatic cerebral vasodilation; vasodilation during chemoregulation of CBF is mediated directly by NO production; autoregulatory vasodilation with hypotension is not mediated by NO; and increasing PaCO2 induces increased NO production.