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Biochem Pharmacol. 2003 Feb 15;65(4):593-8.

Diminished production of nitric oxide synthase cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin by rosiglitazone in adipocytes.

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Department of Research and Division of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Clinical Nutrition, University Hospitals, 4031 Basel, Switzerland.


Increased nitric oxide (NO) synthesis has been proposed to participate in the generation of insulin resistance in adipose and muscle tissues. Therefore, we examined the potential rate-limiting role of tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) in cytokine-induced NO synthesis, and the effect of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) activation using the insulin-sensitizer rosiglitazone on cytokine-induced BH4 synthesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Our data indicate that modulated availability of the mandatory nitric oxide synthase (NOS) cofactor BH4 affected cytokine-induced NO generation. Semiquantitative linear range reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis demonstrated that rosiglitazone not only reduced inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) mRNA transcription, but also guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase (GTPCH), the rate-limiting and controlling step of BH4 synthesis. Accordingly, intracellular BH4 concentration was reduced by 45% following rosiglitazone treatment. Furthermore, we observed a transient inhibitory effect of natural PPARgamma ligand 15-deoxy-Delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PJ2) on cytokine-mediated iNOS and GTPCH induction. Thus, the inhibition of cytokine-induced NO synthesis by rosiglitazone is at least in part attributable to reduced availability of BH4, the synthesis of which might represent a potential new target in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.

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