Heme oxygenase catalyzes the metabolism of heme to biliverdine, free iron, and carbon monoxide. The current study was designed to determine if treatment with the heme oxygenase substrates heme-L-arginate or heme-L-lysinate, to stimulate formation of heme oxygenase products, can lower blood pressure in the rat. Heme-L-arginate (45 mumol/kg ip) and heme-L-lysinate (45 mumol/kg ip) acutely lowered blood pressure in awake spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) by approximately 35 mmHg. For both heme oxygenase substrates, this effect was blunted by pretreatment with an inhibitor of heme oxygenase, zinc deuteroporphyrin 2,4-bis glycol. Heme-L-lysinate also lowered arterial pressure in deoxycorticosterone acetate-salt hypertensive rats and in rats with phenylephrine-induced hypertension, indicating that the vasodepressive actions of heme may be extended to other hypertensive models. However, neither heme-L-arginate nor heme-L-lysinate decreased blood pressure in normotensive controls. The heme oxygenase product biliverdine did not lower blood pressure in SHR, and the vasodepressive actions of heme-L-lysinate were unaffected by pretreatment with deferoxamine to chelate free iron. Carbon monoxide (12 ml/kg ip) lowered blood pressure in SHR and in rats made hypertensive by phenylephrine infusion, had no effect on blood pressure in Wistar-Kyoto rats, and elicited only a modest vasodepressive response in normotensive Sprague-Dawley rats. We conclude that heme-bearing preparations can lower blood pressure in hypertensive rats, presumably via heme oxygenase-mediated formation of carbon monoxide.
- Copyright © 1996 the American Physiological Society