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Hypertension. 1999 Dec;34(6):1237-41.

cGMP-mediated negative-feedback regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase expression by nitric oxide.

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  • 1Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, Calif 92697, USA.


Earlier studies have demonstrated that nitric oxide (NO) exerts a fast-acting inhibitory influence on endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) enzymatic activity in isolated vascular tissue preparations. The present study was designed to examine the possible effect of NO on eNOS protein expression in cultured endothelial cells and intact animals. Human coronary endothelial cells were incubated with S-nitroso-N-acetyl-penicillamine (SNAP, an NO donor), oxyhemoglobin (HGB, an NO trapping agent), SNAP plus HGB, or inactive vehicle (control). In other experiments, cells were treated with 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (a phosphodiesterase inhibitor), 1H-[1,2, 4]oxadiazolo-[4,3-2]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ, a guanylate cyclase inhibitor), SNAP plus ODQ, 8-bromo-cGMP (8-Br-cGMP, a cell-permeable cGMP compound), 8-Br-cGMP plus HGB, or inactive vehicle in order to discern the effect of cGMP. The incubations were conducted for 24 hours, and total nitrate plus nitrite production and eNOS protein abundance (Western analysis) were measured. To determine the effect of NO on eNOS expression in vivo, rats were treated with either the NO donor isosorbide dinitrate or placebo by gastric gavage for 48 hours, and aortic eNOS protein expression was examined. The NO donor SNAP markedly depressed, whereas the NO scavenger HGB significantly raised, eNOS protein expression. The downregulatory action of SNAP was completely abrogated by HGB. Phosphodiesterase inhibitor and 8-Br-cGMP downregulated, whereas the guanylate cyclase inhibitor ODQ upregulated eNOS protein expression. The downregulatory action of SNAP was completely overcome by the guanylate cyclase inhibitor ODQ, and the upregulatory action of the NO scavenger HGB was abrogated by 8-Br-cGMP. Administration of NO donor resulted in a marked downregulation of aortic eNOS protein expression in intact animals, thus confirming the in vitro findings. NO serves as a negative-feedback regulator of eNOS expression via a cGMP-mediated process.

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