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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1990 Jul 16;170(1):96-103.

Macrophage and endothelial cell nitric oxide synthesis: cell-type selective inhibition by NG-aminoarginine, NG-nitroarginine and NG-methylarginine.

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Department of Pharmacology, Cornell University Medical College, New York, N.Y. 10021.


Many cell types are known to synthesize nitric oxide (NO.) from L-arginine. There appear to be at least two forms of NO. synthase: an inducible, tetrahydrobiopterin- and flavin-dependent activity exemplified by the macrophage enzyme and a constitutive, Ca+(+)-dependent activity exemplified by the endothelial cell enzyme. L-NG-methylarginine inhibits NO. synthesis by both cell types. We now report that L-NG-aminoarginine and L-NG-nitroarginine are about 100-fold more potent than NG-methylarginine in blocking endothelial cell NO. synthesis. In contrast, NG-aminoarginine and NG-methylarginine are about equipotent with macrophages whereas NG-nitroarginine is much less potent. Since macrophage and endothelial cell NO. synthesis are differentially sensitive to the inhibitors, the panel of inhibitors can be used in complex biological systems to determine if macrophage-like or endothelial-like cells are the predominant source of NO.. Indeed, all three inhibitors elicit a strong pressor response in the anesthetized guinea pig, a result consistent with the view that endothelial cells continually produce vasodilatory NO(.).

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