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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42467. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042467. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

The dose-dependent immunoregulatory effects of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester in rats with sub-acute peritonitis.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Clinical Nutrition Support Service Team, Changhua Christian Hospital, Changhau, Taiwan.



Chronic inflammation accompanied by arginine deficiency, immune dysfunction, and excess nitric oxide (NO) production is a clinical condition found in patients with peritonitis. A previous study showed that the nonselective NOS inhibitor N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) may facilitate the metabolism of the immune nutrient arginine without altering NO homeostasis in rats with sub-acute peritonitis. Here, we investigated the effects of L-NAME on the immunocytic subpopulation distribution and response.


Male Wistar rats with cecal puncture-induced peritonitis were administered parenteral nutrition solutions supplemented with 0 (CPP group), 5 (LNA group), 25 (MNA group) or 50 (HNA group) mg · kg(-1) · day(-1) of L-NAME for 7 days. Parenteral-fed sham-operated rats (TPN group) and orally-fed healthy rats (R group) were included as controls.


The TPN group had significantly increased spleen weights and levels of plasma nitrite/nitrate (NOx), circulating white blood cells (WBC), and splenocytic T cells, as well as significantly decreased levels of cytotoxic T- and B-leukocytes and B-splenocytes compared to the R group. The CPP group had significantly decreased levels of plasma NOx and concanavalin (Con) A-stimulated interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-2 production by leukocytes and significantly increased production of Con A-stimulated tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated IFN-γ in the leukocytes. In addition, the LNA and MNA groups had significantly decreased spontaneous IL-6 and Con A-stimulated TNF-α and IFN-γ production by the leukocytes while the HNA group had significantly increased LPS-stimulated TNF-α and Con A-stimulated IFN-γ and IL-2 production by the splenocytes compared to the CPP group.


Low-dose L-NAME infusion may suppress proinflammatory and T-helper-1 (Th1) response in leukocytes, and high-dose infusion may activate the proinflammatory response in splenic macrophages and Th1 response in T-splenocytes in rats with sub-acute peritonitis.

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