Narirutin is one of the most common flavanones found in citrus fruits. The vascular effects of its analogues naringenin and naringin have been reported but its effects on the cardiovascular system are largely unknown. In this study, relaxation effect of narirutin and its mechanisms of action were investigated by measuring isometric tension in rat mesenteric arteries. Patch-clamping was also used to study the effect of narirutin on potassium channels in vascular smooth muscle cells. Moreover, its effects on phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase, cAMP level and phosphodiesterase activity in rat mesenteric arteries were studied by Western blot and biochemical assays. The results showed that pre-incubation of rat mesenteric arteries with narirutin had no influence on acetylcholine-induced endothelial-dependent relaxation. However, narirutin caused a direct concentration-dependent relaxation in rat mesenteric arteries. This relaxation effect was comparable to that of narirutin's structural analogue naringenin. Narirutin-induced relaxation was reduced by the removal of endothelium, NG-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor), and 4-aminopyridine (a voltage-gated potassium channel blocker). In addition, narirutin increased the phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and increased the voltage-dependent potassium current in mesenteric arterial smooth muscle cells. These effects were abolished by protein kinase A inhibitor. Furthermore, narirutin could increase cAMP level and inhibit phosphodiesterase activity in rat mesenteric arteries. In conclusion, narirutin has vasorelaxing effect and the mechanism involves the inhibition of phosphodiesterase, which increases intracellular cAMP, thereby stimulating the endothelial nitric oxide synthase and activating the voltage-gated potassium channels in vascular smooth muscle cells.
- Nitric oxide
- Voltage-gated potassium channels
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