Endothelium dependency of contractile activity differs in infant and adult vertebral arteries

J. R. Charpie, K. D. Schreur, S. M. Papadopoulos, R. C. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Contractions to serotonin (5-HT) and endothelin-1 (ET-1) in infant (0-2 yr) and adult (38-71 yr) vertebral arteries were examined in the presence of either the cyclooxygenase inhibitor indomethacin or N(G)-monomethyl-L- arginine (L-NMMA), an inhibitor of nitric oxide production. In addition, endothelium-dependent relaxations to acetylcholine were characterized in arteries contracted with agonist. The results showed that: (a) Contractions of infant arteries to 5-HT or ET-1 decreased to 44±8% and 27±13%, respectively, within 10 min. Indomethacin or removal of endothelium abolished this decreased response, whereas L-NMMA had no effect. (b) Adult arteries produced sustained contractions to 5-HT or ET-1 that were unaffected by indomethacin, endothelium denudation, or L-NMMA. (c) Endothelium-dependent relaxations to acetylcholine were greater in infant than adult arteries and were abolished by indomethacin (but not L-NMMA) in infants and L-NMMA (but not indomethacin) in adults. Thus, endothelium-dependent responses in infant arteries are attenuated because of increased prostaglandin activity not observed in adult tissues. Additionally, there is an age-dependent change in the primary mechanism responsible for acetylcholine-induced vasodilatation. Apparently, endothelium dependency of acetylcholine-induced relaxation is highly dependent on cyclooxygenase activity in the infant vertebral artery, but in the adult artery, nitric oxide is linked to the vasodilator response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1339-1343
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • acetylcholine
  • endothelin-1
  • nitric oxide
  • prostaglandins
  • serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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