Nitric oxide is not obligatory for radial artery flow-mediated dilation following release of 5 or 10 min distal occlusion

Kyra Pike
Daniel J. Green
Cara Weisbrod
Matthew Best
Lawrence Dembo
Gerry O'Driscoll, University of Notre Dame Australia
Michael Tschakovsky


This study investigated the nitric oxide (NO) dependence of radial artery (RA) flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in response to three different reactive hyperemia (RH) shear stimulus profiles. Ten healthy males underwent the following three RH trials: 1) 5 min occlusion (5 trial), 2) 10 min occlusion (10 trial), and 3) 10 min occlusion with cuff reinflation at 30 s (10–30 trial). Trials were performed during saline infusion and repeated during NG-monomethyl-l-arginine (l-NMMA) infusion in the brachial artery. RA blood flow velocity was measured with Doppler ultrasound, and B-mode RA images were analyzed using automated edge detection software. Shear rate estimation of shear stress was calculated as the blood flow velocity/vessel diameter. l-NMMA decreased baseline vascular conductance by 35%. l-NMMA infusion did not affect the peak shear rate stimulus (P = 0.681) or the area under the curve (AUC) of shear rate to peak FMD (P = 0.088). The AUC was significantly larger in the 10 trial vs. the 10–30 or 5 trial (P < 0.001). Although percent FMD (%change in diameter) in the 10 trial was larger than that in the 5 trial (P = 0.035), there was no significant difference in %FMD between the saline and l-NMMA conditions in any trial: 5 trial, 5.62 ± 1.48 vs. 5.63 ± 1.27%; 10 trial, 9.07 ± 1.16 vs. 11.22 ± 2.21%; 10–30 trial, 6.52 ± 1.43 vs. 7.98 ± 1.51% for saline and l-NMMA, respectively (P = 0.158). We conclude the following: 1) RH following 10 min of occlusion results in an enhanced stimulus and %FMD compared with 5 min of occlusion. 2) When the occlusion cuff is reinflated 30 s postrelease of a 10 min occlusion, it does not result in an enhanced %FMD compared with that which results from RH following 5 min of occlusion. 3) The lack of effect of l-NMMA on FMD suggests that NO may not be obligatory for radial artery FMD in response to either 5 or 10 min of occlusion in healthy volunteers.