Influence of coronary artery diameter on eNOS protein content. Academic Article uri icon


  • The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that the content of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) protein (eNOS protein/g total artery protein) increases with decreasing artery diameter in the coronary arterial tree. Content of eNOS protein was determined in porcine coronary arteries with immunoblot analysis. Arteries were isolated in six size categories from each heart: large arteries [301- to 2,500-microm internal diameter (ID)], small arteries (201- to 300-microm ID), resistance arteries (151- to 200-microm ID), large arterioles (101- to 150-microm ID), intermediate arterioles (51- to 100-microm ID), and small arterioles(<50-microm ID). To obtain sufficient protein for analysis from small- and intermediate-sized arterioles, five to seven arterioles 1-2 mm in length were pooled into one sample for each animal. Results establish that the number of smooth muscle cells per endothelial cell decreases from a number of 10 to 15 in large coronary arteries to 1 in the smallest arterioles. Immunohistochemistry revealed that eNOS is located only in endothelial cells in all sizes of coronary artery and in coronary capillaries. Contrary to our hypothesis, eNOS protein content did not increase with decreasing size of coronary artery. Indeed, the smallest coronary arterioles had less eNOS protein per gram of total protein than the large coronary arteries. These results indicate that eNOS protein content is greater in the endothelial cells of conduit arteries, resistance arteries, and large arterioles than in small coronary arterioles.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol

author list (cited authors)

  • Laughlin, M. H., Turk, J. R., Schrage, W. G., Woodman, C. R., & Price, E. M

citation count

  • 49

complete list of authors

  • Laughlin, MH||Turk, JR||Schrage, WG||Woodman, CR||Price, EM

publication date

  • April 2003