Hypercholesterolemia impairs endothelial function [e.g., the nitric oxide (NO)-cyclic GMP-phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) pathway], limits shear stress-induced vasodilation, and is therefore expected to reduce exercise-induced vasodilation. To assess the actual effects of hypercholesterolemia on endothelial function and exercise-induced vasodilation, we compared the effects of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) and PDE5 inhibition in chronically instrumented Yucatan (Control) and Rapacz familial hypercholesterolemic (FH) swine, at rest and during treadmill exercise. The increases in systemic vascular conductance produced by ATP (relative to nitroprusside) and exercise were blunted in FH compared with Control swine. The vasoconstrictor response to eNOS inhibition, with nitro-L-arginine (NLA), was attenuated in FH compared with Control swine, both at rest and during exercise. Furthermore, whereas the vasodilator response to nitroprusside was enhanced slightly, the vasodilator response to PDE5 inhibition, with EMD360527, was reduced in FH compared with Control swine. Finally, in the pulmonary circulation, FH resulted in attenuated vasodilator responses to ATP, while maintaining the responses to both NLA and EMD360527. In conclusion, hypercholesterolemia reduces exercise-induced vasodilation in the systemic but not the pulmonary circulation. This reduction appears to be the principal result of a decrease in NO bioavailability, which is mitigated by a lower PDE5 activity.
- EMC COEUR-09