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Vascular effects of tryptophan



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Previous studies have shown that L-tryptophan treatment has been known to reduce blood pressure (BP) in hypertensive rats. L-tryptophan is converted to serotonin (5-HT), a potent vasoconstrictor agonist. The direct vascular effects of L-tryptophan, an essential amino acid, and the mechanism that contributes to the fall in BP have not been fully explored. The present study aims to examine the direct vascular responses to both D- and L- tryptophan using perfused mesenteric vascular bed, an ex-vivo preparation that represents the resistance function of circulation. Perfusion was maintained at a constant flow rate (5 mL/min) with Krebs buffer (pH 7.4, 37°C) after isolation from 12 to 14 week old male Sprague-Dawley rats. The basal perfusion pressure (PP) (mean ± SEM) was 27 ± 3 mmHg. Inclusion of D- and L-isomers in the perfusion medium led to concentration-dependent increase in PP. While the maximal response (Eₘₐₓ) was similar, D-tryptophan (EC₅₀: 0.25 ± 0.12* µmol; Eₘₐₓ: 128 ± 8 mmHg) was more potent (lower EC₅₀ value; *p < 0.01) than L-tryptophan (EC₅₀: 0.79 ± 0.30 µmol; Eₘₐₓ: 141 ± 7 mmHg). Inclusion of increasing concentrations (2, 5 and 10 nM) of the 5-HT₂A selective antagonist, ketanserin, led to parallel right-ward shifts in the concentration-response curves to D- and L-tryptophan with restoration of their Eₘₐₓ. In contrast, the α1 selective agonist, methoxamine (30 µM), constricted preparations, both D- (IC₅₀: 0.94 ± 0.30* µmol; Iₘₐₓ: 96 ± 2%) and L-tryptophan (IC₅₀: 2.8 ± 1.0 µmol Imax: 88± 1%) evoked concentration-dependent vasodilatation, an effect that was resistant to blockade by either ketanserin or other 5-HT antagonists. Again, D-tryptophan was more potent than L-tryptophan in the presence of 5-HT antagonist (*p < 0.05). Neither the removal of endothelium nor incubation with selective inhibitors of dilatory mediators released from the endothelium, failed to alter the vasodilator responses to D- and L-tryptophan. In potassium chloride depolarized preparations, L-tryptophan evoked an additive vasoconstrictor response. The vasodilator responses to L-tryptophan persisted in the presence of glibenclamide, a KATP channel inhibitor, or tetraethyl ammonium, a BKCa channel inhibitor, or BaCl₂, a Kir channel inhibitor, or ouabain, a Na⁺-K⁺-ATPase pump inhibitor. These data confirm that the essential amino acid, L-tryptophan, as well as its D-isomer, evoke a biphasic vasoconstrictor and vasodilator responses in the resistance type mesenteric vascular bed. While the vasoconstrictor responses are mediated by activation of vascular 5-HT receptors, the endothelium-independent vasodilator responses are not linked to activation of vascular 5-HT receptors, vascular potassium channels, Na⁺-K⁺-ATPase pump or via inhibition of voltage-operated Ca²⁺-channels. Plasma concentration of L-tryptophan is about 90 - 120 µM. The endothelium/5-HT independent direct vasodilator responses characterized here for the first time could account for the antihypertensive/ BP lowering effect of L-tryptophan reported earlier by other laboratories.



Hypertension, Tryptophan, Endothelium, Vascular Smooth Muscle, Mesenteric Vascular Bed



Master of Science (M.Sc.)






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