Koichi Node; Masafumi Kitakaze; Hiromichi Yoshikawa; Hiroaki Kosaka; Masatsugu Hori

From the First Department of Medicine (K.N., M.K., M.H.) and the Department of Physiology (H.K.), Osaka University School of Medicine; and the Sumitomo Life Multiphasic Health Test System (H.Y.), Osaka, Japan.

Abstract Patients with essential hypertension exhibit blunted endothelium-dependent vasodilator responses, which may be largely attributable to reduced bioactivity of nitric oxide (NO). Therefore, we measured the end product of NO, nitrate plus nitrite (nitrogen oxide), and examined the relationship between the degree of hypertension and plasma nitrate plus nitrite levels in patients with essential hypertension. The combined plasma concentration of nitrate plus nitrite, end products of NO metabolism, was reduced in individuals with essential hypertension relative to that in control subjects (15.7±1.1 versus 22.8±1.4 mmol · L-1, P<.001); individuals with borderline hypertension showed values that were intermediate between those of the other two groups (18.2±1.2 mmol · L-1, P<.001). The plasma nitrogen oxide concentration showed significant inverse correlations with both systolic and diastolic blood pressures. The basal concentration of nitrogen oxide in the plasma was reduced, at least in the peripheral circulation, in individuals with essential hypertension.