Oxygen regulates the effective diffusion distance of nitric oxide in the aortic wall

Xiaoping Liu, Parthasarathy Srinivasan, Eric Collard, Paula Grajdeanu, Kevin Lok, Sarah E. Boyle, Avner Friedman, Jay L. Zweier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Endothelium-derived nitric oxide (NO) is critical in maintaining vascular tone. Accumulating evidence shows that NO bioavailability is regulated by oxygen concentration. However, it is unclear to what extent the oxygen concentration regulates NO bioavailability in the vascular wall. In this study, a recently developed experimental setup was used to measure the NO diffusion flux across the aortic wall at various oxygen concentrations. It was observed that for a constant NO concentration at the endothelial surface, the measured NO diffusion flux out of the adventitial surface at [O2] = 0 μM is around fivefold greater than at [O2] = 150 μM, indicating that NO is consumed in the aortic wall in an oxygen-dependent manner. Analysis of experimental data shows that the rate of NO consumption in the aortic wall is first order with respect to [NO] and first order with respect to [O2], and the rate constant k1 was determined as (4.0 ± 0.3) × 103 M-1 s-1. Computer simulations demonstrate that NO concentration distribution significantly changes with oxygen concentration and the effective NO diffusion distance at low oxygen level ([O2] ≤ 25 μM) is significantly longer than that at high oxygen level ([O2] = 200 μM). These results suggest that oxygen-dependent NO consumption may play an important role in dilating blood vessels during hypoxia by increasing the effective NO diffusion distance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-559
Number of pages6
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Aorta
  • Diffusion
  • Free radicals
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxygen
  • Rate constant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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