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J Biol Chem. 2000 Apr 21;275(16):11929-33.

Induction of endothelial nitric-oxide synthase in rat brain astrocytes by systemic lipopolysaccharide treatment.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Kumamoto 862-0976, Japan.


In the brain, three isoforms of nitric oxide (NO) synthase (NOS), namely neuronal NOS (nNOS, NOS1), inducible NOS (iNOS, NOS2), and endothelial NOS (eNOS, NOS3), have been implicated in biological roles such as neurotransmission, neurotoxicity, immune function, and blood vessel regulation, each isoform exhibiting in part overlapping roles. Previous studies showed that iNOS is induced in the brain by systemic treatment with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a Gram-negative bacteria-derived stimulant of the innate immune system. Here we found that eNOS mRNA is induced in the rat brain by intraperitoneal injection of LPS of a smaller amount than that required for induction of iNOS mRNA. The induction of eNOS mRNA was followed by an increase in eNOS protein. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that eNOS is located in astrocytes of both gray and white matters as well as in blood vessels. Induction of eNOS in response to a low dose of LPS, together with its localization in major components of the blood-brain barrier, suggests that brain eNOS is involved in early pathophysiologic response against systemic infection before iNOS is induced with progression of the infection.

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