Gold-containing compounds inhibited endothelium-dependent relaxation mediated by acetylcholine and the calcium ionophore A23187 in isolated rabbit thoracic aortic rings. Auranofin was the most potent gold-containing compound studied, producing approximately 40 % inhibition of vascular relaxation at a concentration of 1 μM. Concentration-response curves to vascular relaxation produced by sodium nitroprusside were significantly shifted 5-fold to the left in the presence of auranofin. However, concentration-response curves to vascular relaxation produced by nitric oxide or isoproterenol were unaffected by auranofin. A series of other gold-containing compounds also inhibited endothelium-dependent relaxation with varying degrees of potency, but none approaching that observed with auranofin. These findings reveal that certain gold-containing compounds are potent and selective inhibitors of endothelium-dependent relaxation.

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