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The response of nitric oxide system to high Altitude in Phrynocephalus erythrurus on Qinghai-Tibetan plateau

Xin, Ying, Wang, Yan, Wang, Huihui, Tang, Xiaolong, Bai, Yucheng, Lu, Songsong, Xin, Ying
Comparative biochemistry and physiology 2019 v.230 pp. 29-36
Phrynocephalus przewalskii, altitude, arginine, ectothermy, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, gene expression, inducible nitric oxide synthase, lizards, messenger RNA, metabolites, myocardium, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, nitric oxide, skeletal muscle, tail, China
Nitric oxide (NO), produced by nitric oxide synthases (NOS) from L-arginine, plays important roles in a wide range of physiological processes. However, little is known about ectothermic species. To investigate the response of NO/NOS system in adaptation to different altitudes in Phrynocephalus genus, the red tail toad-headed lizard Phrynocephalus erythrurus that live at 4500–5300 m on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and another low altitude living lizard Phrynocephalus przewalskii were selected in the present study. The results of mRNA expression and activity of NOSs, as well as NO metabolite levels in different tissues of the two lizards indicate that nNOS mRNA levels in cardiac and skeletal muscle were notably elevated in P. erythrurus, and iNOS expression was also increased markedly (up to 4-fold) in cardiac muscle. There was no significant difference in eNOS mRNA level in tested tissues between two species. However, the total NOS activity in skeletal muscle of P. erythrurus was slightly lower than that of P. przewalskii (p < .05) while no difference in other tissues. Similarly, lower iNOS activity (p < .01) was found in cardiac and skeletal muscle in P. erythrurus compared to P. przewalskii. In addition, the NO metabolite levels were dramatically lower in P. erythrurus in all tested tissues. We propose that higher nNOS and iNOS mRNA expression, lower iNOS activity and NO metabolite levels may represent physiological characteristics in nitric oxide system, which may contribute to high-altitude adaptation in P. erythrurus.