Background. Aging has considerable structural and functional effects on the vascular system of the kidney. One such effect is an alteration in vascular tone which potentially will initiate renal damage. Vascular tone is determined by the balance between vasoconstrictors and vasodilators. Therefore, we hypothesized that aging attenuates vasodilatory responses in the kidney. These changes may be mediated by a loss of nitric oxide and endothelial-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF). Methods. The systemic and renal responses of nitric oxide and EDHF were investigated in aging (18 months old) and young (3 months old) Sprague-Dawley rats. Results. We demonstrated a general loss of vasodilatory responses in the aging kidney. In addition, nitric oxide levels were reduced in the serum and kidney cortex of aging versus young animals, although this was not accompanied with a loss of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) protein in the kidney cortex. Aging animals also exhibited a loss in EDHF-mediated vasodilation following stimulation with either acetylcholine or bradykinin in the isolated perfused kidney. Conclusion. These findings indicate that not only a defect in the nitric oxide pathway, but also a loss of EDHF-mediated responses may be responsible for impaired vasodilation in the aging kidney. This may result in enhanced vasoconstrictive responses in aging which potentially will cause renal damage and ultimately a loss in glomerular filtration rate (GFR).
- Endothelium-derived hyperpolarizing factor (EDHF)
- Nitric oxide
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