BRL 49653 (rosiglitazone) and troglitazone are thiazolidinedione insulin-sensitizing agents, which are undergoing clinical evaluation as treatments for NIDDM. Potential side effects of thiazolidinediones include edema and hemodilution. Although the underlying mechanisms are presently unclear, animal and human studies have demonstrated a vasodilator action of troglitazone, which could in theory cause fluid retention. This in vitro study compared the direct vasodilator effects of troglitazone and BRL 49653 in small arteries (n = 44) from human subcutaneous fat. In arterial rings with a functioning endothelium and preconstricted with norepinephrine (NE; 6 micromol/l), troglitazone (n = 22 vessels), but not BRL 49653 (1-100 micromol/l), caused a concentration-related relaxation (69.4 +/- 5.2% at 100 micromol/l; P < 0.01). In the presence of indomethacin (IM; 10 micromol/l; n = 12), this vasorelaxant effect of troglitazone was abolished (P < 0.01 vs. troglitazone alone) and replaced by enhanced vasoconstriction (58.5 +/- 39.5% over the NE baseline) similar in magnitude to that produced by troglitazone vehicle (ethanol) alone (n = 16; NS vs. ethanol vehicle). By contrast, BRL 49653 (100 micromol/l; n = 22) and an equivalent volume of ethanol alone (n = 12) caused similar degrees of vasoconstriction (18.7 +/- 14.6 and 22.5 +/- 8.0%, respectively; NS). In the presence of IM (10 micromol/l; n = 10), the vasoconstrictor effect of BRL 49653 was enhanced (41.5 +/- 14.4%), although not significantly (NS vs. BRL 49653 alone or ethanol alone). Additional studies in Wistar rat arteries showed a similar vasodilator effect of troglitazone that was not inhibited by L-NAME (100 micromol/l). The alpha-tocopherol moiety alone had no vasorelaxant effect at concentrations up to 300 micromol/l. Thus, in human arterial resistance vessels in vitro, BRL 49653 does not possess the direct, IM-sensitive vasorelaxant action of troglitazone. This vasodilation could, in theory, permit transmission of systemic pressure to the capillary bed.

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