Nitric oxide (NO) has been implicated in various aspects of the atherogenic process and has been shown to possess both protective and cytotoxic properties. Recently, increased expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) has been detected in atherosclerotic lesions, although there is no consensus as to its pathogenetic significance [1,2]. In this longitudinal study we show that iNOS plays an important protective role in the atherogenic process. Indirect systolic blood pressure was measured by photoplethysmography in unanesthetized mice fed either a basal or high salt diet, and found to be significantly higher in iNOS-deficient mice than in wild type controls at three months of age (P=0.038 (basal diet) and P=0.0005 (high salt diet)). In addition, relative to controls, the iNOS-deficient mice had significantly elevated serum cholesterol levels at 3, 9 and 12 months of age (P=0.0017, 0.0001 and 0.0002 for the respective ages) as well as a significantly higher incidence of atherosclerotic plaques. These findings suggest that iNOS targeted mutant mice, historically used as an animal model to investigate the role of nitric oxide in the inflammatory response [3,4], may also serve as a model for the study of cholesterol homeostasis and atherogenesis.
- Animal model
- Inducible nitric oxide synthase
- Nitric oxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine