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Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2008 Feb;78(2):147-55. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2007.09.003. Epub 2008 Jan 10.

Palmitate-induced NO production has a dual action to reduce cell death through NO and accentuate cell death through peroxynitrite formation.

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University of British Columbia, 9th Floor, 2775 Laurel Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada V5Z 1M9.


The objective of this study was to determine the role of palmitate-induced stimulation of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) on palmitate-induced cell death, specifically distinguishing the effects of the subtype NOS2 from NOS3, defining the effect of NO on mitochondria death pathways, and determining whether palmitate induces peroxynitrite formation which may impact cardiomyocyte cell survival. Cardiomyocytes from embryonic chick hearts were treated with palmitate 300-500 microM. Cell death was assessed by the 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The ability of palmitate to induce NO production and its consequences were tested by using the NOS inhibitor 7-nitroindazole (7-N) and the peroxynitrite scavenger (5,10,15,20-tetrakis(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphyrinato iron (III) chloride) (FeTPPS). The effect of palmitate on the mitochondria was assessed by Western blotting for cytochrome c release into the cytosol, and assessment of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (DeltaPsi(m)) by 5,5',6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1',3,3'-tetraethyl-benzimidazolyl-carbocyanine iodide staining and immunocytochemistry. The NOS inhibitor 7-N, which is selective for NOS2 and not for NOS3, significantly (p<0.05) increased palmitate-induced cell death. In contrast, 7-N did not alter cell death produced by the combination of potassium cyanide and deoxyglucose, which, respectively, inhibit glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation. The mitochondrial actions of palmitate, specifically palmitate-induced translocation of mitochondrial cytochrome c to cytosol and loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential, were not altered by pretreatment with 7-N. FeTPPS, which isomerizes peroxynitrite to nitrate and thereby reduces the toxic effects of peroxynitrite, produced a significant reduction in palmitate-induced cell death. In summary, these data suggest that palmitate stimulates NO production, which has a dual action to protect against cell death or to induce cell death. Palmitate-induced cell death is mediated, in part, through NO generation, which leads to peroxynitrite formation. The protective effect of NO is operative through stimulation of NOS2 but not NOS3. The actions of NO on palmitate-induced cell death are independent of mitochondrial cell death pathways.

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