Nitric oxide (NO) has been implicated to regulate pancreatic circulation, promote capillary integrity, and inhibit leukocyte adhesion. We investigated the role of NO in the development of pancreatitis. Nitro-l-arginine, an inhibitor of NO synthase, in total dose of 35 mg/kg body wt was infused in the rats with edematous pancreatitis induced by two intraperitoneal injections of cerulein (20 μg/kg). l-Arginine (125 or 250 mg/kg), a NO donor was intravenously administered twice in the rats with hemorrhagic pancreatitis induced by waterimmersion stress plus two intraperitoneal injections of cerulein (40 μg/kg). The degree of pancreas edema, serum amylase levels, and histologic alterations were investigated. Nitro-l-arginine exacerbated cerulein-induced pancreatitis and caused a decrease in pancreatic blood flow. l-Arginine ameliorated the severity of hemorrhagic pancreatitis dose dependently and improved the pancreatic blood flow. These findings suggest that NO could confer protection against the development of hemorrhagic pancreatitis, probably through improvement of the pancreatic microcirculation.
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