Interaction of nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species on rat diaphragm contractility. Academic Article uri icon


  • Growing evidence indicates that reactive oxygen species (ROS) as well as nitric oxide (NO) have a profound influence on contractile function of skeletal muscle possibly through modulation of excitation-contraction coupling. We hypothesized that if NO and xanthine oxidase (XO) interact at key sites in excitation-contraction coupling, the effects of XO with nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitors and NO donors on contractile function of the unfatigued diaphragm would not be additive. Diaphragm fibre bundles were extracted from 4-month Fischer-344 rats and placed in Krebs solution bubbled with 95% O2, 5% CO2. Baseline twitch tension, tension at 20 Hz (low-frequency), and maximal tetanic tension (Po) at 120 Hz were then measured (PRE). In Experiment 1 diaphragm fibre bundles were exposed to Krebs with 200 microM hypoxanthine as a control (CON); 0.02 U mL-1 XO + 200 microM hypoxanthine; 1 mM of the NOS inhibitor N-nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA) or L-NNA + XO. Five minutes were allowed for equilibration, and a second set of contractile measures was taken (POST). In Experiment 2 we exposed diaphragm fibre bundles to one of the following four solutions: CON, XO, 100 microM of the NO donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP) and XO + SNP, and evaluated contractile function as described above. In Experiment 3 we tested to determine if peroxynitrite production from the reaction of superoxide anion and NO affected the above results for SNP using 30 microM ebselen as a peroxynitrite quencher. Xanthine oxidase resulted in a significant potentiation of diaphragm twitch tension and tension at 20 Hz (+29%) without affecting Po. L-NNA also significantly increased 20 Hz tension but did not alter Po. However, the combination of XO + L-NNA did not further increase low-frequency contractility. Sodium nitroprusside alone did not affect diaphragm contractility, but did attenuate XO-induced potentiation in the XO + SNP group. Ebselen did not alter the impact of SNP on XO in the diaphragm. These data support the hypothesis that XO and NO interact or compete at similar sites of action that modulate contractility of the unfatigued diaphragm.

published proceedings

  • Acta Physiol Scand

author list (cited authors)

  • Lawler, J. M., & Hu, Z.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Lawler, JM||Hu, Z

publication date

  • July 2000