The effect of ethanol was studied on the endothelium-dependent vascular responses in isolated rat aortic strips. Ethanol depressed the endothelium-dependent relaxation induced by acetylcholine and ATP but not that induced by the calcium ionophore, A23187. Endothelium-independent relaxation in response to sodium nitroprusside, a soluble guanylate cyclase activator, was not depressed by ethanol. On the other hand, ethanol significantly enhanced the contractile response to clonidine, an α2-adrenoceptor agonist, in endothelium-intact strips and depressed it in endothelium-denuded strips. These results suggest that ethanol can inhibit endothelium-dependent relaxation by acting on endothelial cells but not on smooth muscle cells, and can also suppress an inhibitory effect of the endothelium on α2-adrenoceptor-mediated vasoconstriction. © 1989.
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