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  • 1 Laboratoire de Physiologie des Agressions, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis 1060 Tunis, Tunise
  • 2 Laboratoire de Physiologie des Agressions, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis 1060 Tunis, Tunise
  • 3 Laboratoire de Physiologie de l'Environnement, Faculté de Médecine Grange-Blanche Lyon, France
  • 4 Laboratoire de Physiologie de l'Environnement, Faculté de Médecine Grange-Blanche Lyon, France
  • 5 Laboratoire de Physiologie des Agressions, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis 1060 Tunis, Tunise
  • 6 Laboratoire de Physiologie des Agressions, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis 1060 Tunis, Tunise
  • 7 Laboratoire de Physiologie des Agressions, Faculté des Sciences de Tunis 1060 Tunis, Tunise
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Nitric oxide has been suggested to be involved in the regulation of fluid and nutrient homeostasis. In the present investigation, vasopressin and nitric oxide metabolite (nitrite and nitrate) levels were determined in plasma of male Wistar rats submitted to water or food deprivation for three days. Hematocrit and plasma sodium showed marked increase in dehydrated and starved rats. Potassium levels and plasma volume decreased in both treated groups. Plasma osmolality and vasopressin levels were significantly elevated in water deprived (362.8±7.1 mOsm/kg H2O, 17.3±2.7 pg/ml, respectively, p<0.001) rats, but not in food deprived (339.9±5.0, 1.34±0.28) rats, compared to the controls (326.1±4.1, 1.47±0.32). The alterations observed in plasma vasopressin levels were related to plasma osmolality rather than plasma volume. Plasma levels of nitrite and nitrate were markedly increased in both water and food deprived rats (respectively, 2.19±0.29 mg/l and 2.22±0.17 mg/l versus1.33±0.19 mg/l, both p<0.01). There was a significant negative correlation between plasma nitrite and nitrate concentration and plasma volume. These results suggest that both dehydration and starvation increase plasma nitric oxide, probably by activation of nitric oxide synthases. The release of nitric oxide may participate in the regulation of the alteration in blood flow, fluid and nutrient metabolism caused by water deprivation or starvation.

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