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J Surg Res. 2001 Aug;99(2):258-64.

cAMP inhibits inducible nitric oxide synthase expression and NF-kappaB-binding activity in cultured rat hepatocytes.

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Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



The inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is strongly expressed following inflammatory stimuli. Adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) increases iNOS expression and activity in a number of cell types but decreases cytokine-stimulated iNOS expression in hepatocytes. The mechanisms for this effect are unknown.


Rat hepatocytes were stimulated with cytokines to induce iNOS and cultured with cAMP agonists dibutyryl-cAMP (dbcAMP), 8-bromo-cAMP, and forskolin (FSK). Nitric oxide synthesis was assessed by supernatant nitrite levels and iNOS expression was measured by Northern and Western blot analyses. Nuclear factor kappaB binding was assessed by electromobility shift assay.


Cyclic AMP dose dependently decreased NO synthesis in response to a combination of proinflammatory cytokines or interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) alone. The adenylate cyclase inhibitor SQ 22,536 increased cytokine- or IL-1beta-stimulated NO synthesis. dbcAMP decreased iNOS mRNA expression and iNOS protein expression. Both dbcAMP and glucagon decreased iNOS promoter activity in rat hepatocytes transfected with the murine iNOS promoter and decreased DNA binding of the transcription factor NF-kappaB.


These data suggest that cAMP is important in hepatocyte iNOS expression and agents that alter cAMP levels may profoundly alter the response of hepatocytes to inflammatory stimuli through effects onthe iNOS promoter region and NF-kappaB.

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