Importance of nitric oxide in hepatic arterial blood flow and total hepatic blood volume regulation in pigs

Frank Grund, H. T. Sommerschild, A. Winecoff, M. R. Ujhelyi, T. Tønnessen, K. A. Kirkebøen, D. L. Rutlen, A. Ilebekk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The importance of nitric oxide in regulating basal arterial blood flow has been examined in several different vascular beds by intra-arterial infusion of inhibitors of nitric oxide synthesis, but not in the arterial vascular bed of the liver. In the present study, N(G)-nitro-L-arginine (L- NNA), in a dose of 0.5 and 1.0 μmol mL-1 of hepatic arterial blood flow, was infused for 5 min into the hepatic artery in seven pigs anaesthetized with pentobarbital sodium. The haemodynamic effects observed by the first infusion were not further enhanced by the second infusion. Hepatic arterial resistance increased by 143 ± 38% and hepatic arterial blood flow declined by 38 ± 10%. A systemic effect due to 'spillover' was observed, as evidenced by an increase in mean aortic blood pressure of 24 ± 4 mmHg. However, no significant increase in arterial mesenteric resistance was observed and total liver blood flow remained unchanged. Hepatic arterial vasodilation in response to occlusion of the portal vein, the arterial buffer response, remained intact after inhibition of nitric oxide synthesis. Liver lobe thickness, measured by an ultrasonic technique, was not found to change with inhibition of arterial nitric oxide synthesis, excluding a significant direct effect of arterial nitric oxide on liver capacitance. In conclusion, nitric oxide is an important regulator of hepatic arterial resistance, but does not mediate the hepatic arterial buffer response and was not found to play any significant role in total hepatic capacitance regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-309
Number of pages7
JournalActa Physiologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholine
  • Glyceryl nitrite
  • Hepatic arterial buffer response
  • Hepatic arterial flow
  • Hepatic venous pressure
  • Nitric oxide
  • Pig
  • Portal vein flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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