The fibrinolytic system attenuates vascular tone: Effects of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and aminocaproic acid on renal microcirculation

Samuel N. Heyman*, Zohair Hanna, Taher Nassar, Ahuva Shina, Sa'ed Akkawi, Marina Goldfarb, Seymour Rosen, Abd Al Roof Higazi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


1. The renal medulla is a major source of plasminogen activators (PA), recently shown to induce vasodilation in vitro. Treatment with PA inhibitors has been associated with renal dysfunction, suggesting compromised renal microvasculature. We investigated the impact of the PA inhibitor epsilon amino-caproic acid (EACA) upon vascular tone in vitro, and studied the effect of both tPA and EACA upon intrarenal hemodynamics in vivo. 2. In vitro experiments were carried out in isolated aortic rings and with cultured vascular smooth muscle cells. Studies of renal microcirculation and morphology were conducted in anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats. 3. In isolated aortic rings, EACA (but not the other inhibitors of the fibrinolytic system PAI-1 or α-2 antiplasmin) reduced the half-maximal effective concentration of phenylephrine (PE) required to induce contraction (from 32 nM in control solution to 2 and 0.1 nM at EACA concentrations of 1 and 10 μM, respectively). Using reteplase (retavase) in the same model, we also provide evidence that the vasoactivity of tPA is in part kringle-dependent. In cultured vascular smooth muscle cells, Ca 2+ internalization following PE was enhanced by EACA, and retarded by tPA. 4. In anesthetized rats, EACA (150 mg kg -1) did not affect systemic blood pressure, total renal or cortical blood flow. However, the outer medullary blood flow declined 12 ± 2% below the baseline (P < 0.03). By contrast, tPA (2 mg kg -1), transiently increased outer medullary blood flow by 8 ± 5% (P < 0.02). Fibrin microthrombi were not found within the renal microvasculature in EACA-treated animals. 5. In conclusion, both fibrinolytic and antifibrinolytic agents modulate medullary renal blood flow with reciprocal effects of vasodilation (PA) and vasoconstriction (EACA). In vitro studies suggest that these hemodynamic responses are related to direct modulation of the vascular tone.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)971-978
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Aminocaproic acid
  • Calcium
  • Hemodynamics
  • Kidney
  • Laser Doppler
  • Medulla
  • Microcirculation
  • Rat
  • Reteplase
  • Tissue plasminogen activator
  • Vascular smooth muscle


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