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Pharm Res. 2001 Feb;18(2):151-6.

Flurbiprofen enantiomers inhibit inducible nitric oxide synthase expression in RAW 264.7 macrophages.

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Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-N├╝rnberg, Germany.



Using RAW 264.7 macrophages, the present study investigates the influence of optically pure enantiomers of the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug flurbiprofen on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression.


iNOS and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA levels were measured by quantitative real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Concentrations of nitrite (index of cellular NO production) and prostaglandin E2 (index of COX-2 activity) in cell culture supernatants were determined by Griess assay and enzyme immunoassay, respectively.


R(-)- and S(+)-flurbiprofen decreased LPS-induced iNOS mRNA and nitrite levels in an equipotent and concentration-dependent manner. Suppression of iNOS mRNA expression by R(-)- and S(+)-flurbiprofen was gene-specific in that both substances failed to inhibit LPS-induced COX-2 mRNA expression. By contrast, flurbiprofen enantiomers suppressed LPS-induced prostaglandin E2 formation enantioselectively with S(+)-flurbiprofen being considerably more potent than its R(-)-antipode.


Our results show that R(-)- and S(+)-flurbiprofen, albeit differing in their potency as inhibitors of COX-2 activity, equipotently suppress iNOS expression. Because sustained high NO levels are associated with pain and tissue injury under various pathological conditions, a suppression of the inducible NO pathway may contribute to the pharmacological action of both R(-)- and S(+)-flurbiprofen.

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