Divergent roles of nitric oxide and rho kinase in vasomotor regulation of human retinal arterioles. Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: Although the arteriolar segment contributes to flow regulation, there is sparse information at the single microvessel level on how vasomotor function is regulated in the human retina. The authors have previously reported vasoreactivity and its underlying mechanisms in isolated porcine retinal arterioles. Herein, they studied human retinal arterioles for comparison. METHODS: Retinal tissues were obtained from seven patients undergoing enucleation. Human and porcine retinal arterioles were isolated and pressurized to 55 cm H(2)O luminal pressure for vasoreactivity study using videomicroscopic techniques. RESULTS: Isolated human and porcine retinal arterioles developed myogenic tone and dilated dose dependently to bradykinin, adenosine, and sodium nitroprusside. Stepwise increases in luminal flow produced graded dilation with approximately 60% dilation at the highest flow tested. Nitric oxide (NO) synthase inhibitor L-NAME nearly abolished dilations to bradykinin and flow and attenuated the adenosine-induced dilation without altering the response to nitroprusside. Endothelin-1 caused dose-dependent constriction. Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibitor H-1152 blocked both myogenic tone and endothelin-1-induced constriction. Responses of retinal arterioles to all agonists and increased flow were similar between pigs and humans. CONCLUSIONS: Isolated human retinal arterioles dilate to bradykinin and increased flow in an NO-dependent manner. NO contributes, in part, to adenosine-induced vasodilation. Conversely, ROCK activation mediates myogenic tone and endothelin-1-induced vasoconstriction. Similarities in these vasoactive responses and the underlying mechanisms between human and porcine retinal arterioles support the latter as a viable experimental model of the human retinal microcirculation.

published proceedings

  • Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Hein, T. W., Rosa, R. H., Yuan, Z., Roberts, E., & Kuo, L.

citation count

  • 57

complete list of authors

  • Hein, Travis W||Rosa, Robert H||Yuan, Zhaoxu||Roberts, Elizabeth||Kuo, Lih

publication date

  • January 2010