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J Biol Chem. 2003 Mar 7;278(10):8099-105. Epub 2002 Dec 27.

Endothelial nitric-oxide synthase enhances lipopolysaccharide-stimulated tumor necrosis factor-alpha expression via cAMP-mediated p38 MAPK pathway in cardiomyocytes.

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Cardiology Research Laboratory, Lawson Health Research Institute, London Health Sciences Center, Department of Medicine, University of Western Ontario, Canada.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS), cAMP, and p38 MAPK in tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) expression induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS dose- and time-dependently induced phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and TNF-alpha expression in neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes. TNF-alpha expression was preceded by p38 MAPK phosphorylation, and selective inhibition of p38 MAPK abrogated LPS-induced TNF-alpha expression. Deficiency in eNOS decreased basal and LPS-stimulated TNF-alpha expression in cardiomyocytes. NOS inhibitor l-NAME attenuated LPS-induced p38 MAPK phosphorylation and TNF-alpha production in wild-type cardiomyocytes, whereas NO donor 2,2'-(hydroxynitrosohydrazono)bis-ethanamine (DETA-NO) (2 microm) or overexpression of eNOS by adenoviral gene transfer restored the response of eNOS(-/-) cardiomyocytes to LPS. These effects of NO were mediated through cAMP-dependent pathway based on the following facts. First, deficiency in eNOS decreased basal levels of intracellular cAMP, and DETA-NO elevated intracellular cAMP levels in eNOS(-/-) cardiomyocytes. Second, a cAMP analogue 8-Br-cAMP mimicked the effect of NO in eNOS(-/-) cardiomyocytes. Third, either inhibition of cAMP or cAMP-dependent protein kinase attenuated LPS-stimulated p38 MAPK phosphorylation and TNF-alpha production in wild-type cardiomyocytes. In conclusion, eNOS enhances LPS-stimulated TNF-alpha expression in cardiomyocytes. Activation of p38 MAPK is essential in LPS-stimulated TNF-alpha expression. Moreover, the effects of NO on LPS-stimulated TNF-alpha expression are mediated through cAMP/cAMP-dependent protein kinase-dependent p38 MAPK pathway in neonatal cardiomyocytes.

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