Image Number 2 for United States Patent #6610652.
Methods for treating vascular conditions associated with localized imbalance in vascular tone, which are hypothesized to be largely due to elevated endothelin (ET) are provided. The methods involve administration of nitric oxide (NO), agents which are able to provide NO, such as NO donors, agents which activate guanyl cyclase, such as YC-1, or agents which prolong the actions of endogenous NO or cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP; a 2nd messenger molecule), such as phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors. According to the invention, such agents are administered in minimal doses or microdoses by any route known in the art, so as to provide dosages which are about one half to about one twentieth (1/2 to 1/20) of those known to induce vasodilation in "normal" circulations. The low doses of these agents effectively alleviate vascular conditions associated with a reduction in NO production or an attenuation of NO effect, by restoring balance in vascular tone while exerting almost no systemic effect in normal vasculature.