The action of nitric oxide in the perfused human fetal-placental circulation

Leslie Myatt, Anthony Brewer, Diane E. Brockman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide is thought to be the endogenous endothelium-derived relaxing factor. We investigated the effects of compounds that either generate nitric oxide intracellularly or inhibit its action on the vasculature of the human placental villus. Addition to perfusion medium of methylene blue (10−5 mol/L), which is an inhibitor of activation of guanylate cyclase by nitric oxide, significantly increased perfusion pressure of the fetal-placental circulation over a range of flow rates (1 to 10 ml/min) compared with the perfusion pressures seen in the absence of methylene blue. This suggests basal release of nitric oxide may contribute to maintenance of resting vascular tone. Both glyceryl trinitrate (10−9 to 5 × 10−6 mol/L) and S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (10−8 to 10−4 mol/L), which generate nitric oxide intracellularly, were able to significantly vasodilate the fetal-placental circulation preconstricted with the thromboxane mimetic U46619 (1 to 5 × 10−8 mol/L) in a concentration-dependent manner. These compounds had no effect in the absence of the vasoconstrictor. Thus it appears that the placental villus vascular tree has the ability to both generate and respond to nitric oxide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-692
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Nitric oxide
  • blood flow
  • endothelium-derived relaxing factor
  • placenta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'The action of nitric oxide in the perfused human fetal-placental circulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this