Purpose: We investigated whether control of constitutive endothelial cell nitric oxide synthase (cNOS) and nitric oxide (NO) by changes in shear stress might be important for the regulation of smooth muscle cell (SMC) growth and vascular diameter. Methods: Bilateral femoral arteriovenous fistulas were placed in baboons to increase the blood flow in the external iliac arteries. At 2 months, the fistula was ligated on one side to restore normal flow (flow switch). Results: In response to flow switch and a decrease in shear stress, lilac artery lumenal area decreased and SMC proliferation was induced. A decline in NO production, cNOS messenger RNA (mRNA), and protein were associated with these biological effects. In a subset of animals with iliac arteries under high flow, infusion of Nω-nitro-L-arginine, an inhibitor of cNOS, did not induce proliferation. Conclusion: Shear stress can regulate cNOS, vasoconstriction, and SMC proliferation. A decrease in nitric oxide may be necessary, but is not sufficient to induce SMC proliferation in response to a decrease in blood flow.
Mattsson, E. J. R., Geary, R. L., Kraiss, L. W., Vergel, S., Liao, J. K., Corson, M. A., … Clowes, A. W. (1998). Is smooth muscle growth in primate arteries regulated by endothelial nitric oxide synthase? Journal of Vascular Surgery, 28(3), 514–521. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0741-5214(98)70138-7