Background. Dopamine is an endogenous inotropic agent commonly used during coronary artery surgery and in the medical therapy of a revascularized patient. In this study the responses of intimal hyperplastic vein grafts to dopamine are examined. Methods. The in vitro isometric tension responses to dopamine of common carotid jugular vein bypass grafts in New Zealand White rabbits were determined. The responses were compared to those obtained in the jugular vein and in the common carotid artery. Both endothelialized and denuded vessels were precontracted with prostaglandin F(2α) and the responses to dopamine were assessed. The contributions of nitric oxide and prostanoids to the response were also determined. Results. Each vessel showed a biphasic dose response to dopamine with relaxation at low concentrations followed by contraction at high concentrations. Dopamine relaxation in the jugular vein was endothelial independent while in the carotid artery it was endothelial dependent and decreased. The sensitivity of both vessels was significantly greater than the vein graft (6.62 ± 0.12; P < 0.05); however, after endothelial denudation, the sensitivity of dopamine-mediated relaxation of the vein graft (8.91 ± 0.09) was significantly enhanced. Preincubation with L-NMMA (to block NO synthesis) inhibited vein graft relaxation to dopamine and preincubation with indomethacin (to block cyclooxygenase activity) inhibited carotid artery relaxation to dopamine. Addition of phenoxybenzamine, a broad α-adrenergic antagonist, enhanced dopamine relaxation in the jugular vein and depressed the relaxation in the carotid artery. There was no effect on the dopamine response in the vein graft. Jugular vein and carotid artery responded to dopamine with cholera toxin- sensitive (Gα(s)) responses. In contrast, dopamine relaxation in the vein graft was enhanced by inhibition of Gα(s). Conclusion. Dopamine relaxation in vein grafts is mediated in part by NO but not by either prostanoids or α- adrenergic receptor activation. It is diminished compared to native vessels due to an endothelium-dependent, Gα(s)-mediated pathway. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
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