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Free Radic Biol Med. 2003 May 15;34(10):1343-52.

Hydrogen peroxide stimulates tetrahydrobiopterin synthesis through the induction of GTP-cyclohydrolase I and increases nitric oxide synthase activity in vascular endothelial cells.

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Department of Pathophysiology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Showa University, Tokyo, Japan.


Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), which is an essential cofactor for nitric oxide synthase (NOS), is generally accepted as an important molecular target for oxidative stress. This study examined whether hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)), one of the reactive oxygen species (ROS), affects the BH4 level in vascular endothelial cells (ECs). Interestingly, the addition of H(2)O(2) to ECs markedly increased the BH4 level, but not its oxidized forms. The H(2)O(2)-induced increase in the BH4 level was blocked by the inhibitor of GTP-cyclohydrolase I (GTPCH), which is the rate-limiting enzyme of BH4 synthesis. Moreover, H(2)O(2) induced the expression of GTPCH mRNA, and the inhibitors of protein synthesis blocked the H(2)O(2)-induced increase in the BH4 level. The expression of the inducible isoform of NOS (iNOS) was slightly induced by the treatment with H(2)O(2). Additionally, the L-citrulline formation from L-arginine, which is the marker for NO synthesis, was stimulated by the treatment with H(2)O(2), and the H(2)O(2)-induced L-citrulline formation was strongly attenuated by NOS or GTPCH inhibitor. These results suggest that H(2)O(2) induces BH4 synthesis via the induction of GTPCH, and the increased BH4 is coupled with NO production by coinduced iNOS. H(2)O(2) appears to be one of the important signaling molecules to regulate the BH4-NOS system.

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