OBJECTIVESPatients with insulin resistance exhibit endothelial dysfunction with decreased nitric oxide (NO) production and increased oxidative stress. We postulated that daily sildenafil improved endothelial function in fructose-fed rats.METHODS AND RESULTSWistar rats were fed a standard or fructose-enriched diet (FFR) for 9 wk. From weeks 6-8, sildenafil was administered twice daily (sc, 20 m g/kg), followed by a 1-wk washout. Concentration-response curves (CRCs) to endothelium-dependent (acetylcholine [Ach] and A23187) and -independent (sodium nitroprusside [SNP]) relaxing agents were performed on isolated precontracted aortas and superior mesenteric arteries (SMAs). Vascular cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) content, urinary excretion of nitrates/nitrites (NOx) and 8-isoprostanes (IPT), and plasma levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were evaluated. Relaxations to ACh were significantly reduced in aortas and SMAs of FFR. Sildenafil restored ACh-induced relaxations in aortas and provoked a significant leftward shift of the CRC to ACh in SMAs, whereas it did not modify the enhanced relaxations to SNP in FFR. IL-6, TNF-alpha, vascular cGMP, and urinary NOx levels were not modified by the fructose or sildenafil treatment. Urinary IPT levels were significantly elevated in FFR and normalized by sildenafil.CONCLUSIONSEndothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress associated with insulin resistance can be reversed by daily sildenafil, even 1 wk after treatment cessation.