Adenosine enhances nitric oxide production by vascular endothelial cells

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Physiology; Department of Surgery

Publication Date


Document Type



Adenosine; Animals; Arginine; Carotid Arteries; Cells, Cultured; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Endothelium, Vascular; Humans; Nitric Oxide; Saphenous Vein; Swine; Theophylline; omega-N-Methylarginine


Physiology | Surgery


Adenosine per se is a potent vasodilator of vascular smooth muscle. Endothelial cells modulate vascular tone via the release of nitric oxide (NO), which also elicits vasodilation. This study was undertaken to determine whether adenosine could directly stimulate endothelial cells to enhance NO production, which could subsequently reduce vascular tone. NO production was evaluated in porcine carotid artery endothelial cells (PCAEC) and human saphenous vein endothelial cells (HSVEC) seeded on multiwell plates, grown to confluence, and treated with adenosine for 1 h. The bathing medium was collected, and the NO production was determined as reflected by the formation of NO2- and NO3-. NO production by PCAEC was significantly increased by adenosine in a dose-dependent manner, whereas there was only an insignificant tendency for an increase by HSVEC. The addition of the NO synthase competitive inhibitor, NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (NMMA), or the adenosine receptor antagonist, theophylline, prevented the increase in NO production by adenosine. The results suggest that adenosine stimulates, by a receptor-mediated mechanism, the production of NO by arterial, but not by venous, endothelial cells.


Am J Physiol. 1995 Aug;269(2 Pt 1):C519-23.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The American journal of physiology

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID