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PLoS One. 2013 Sep 9;8(9):e74650. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0074650. eCollection 2013.

Inorganic polyphosphate suppresses lipopolysaccharide-induced inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression in macrophages.

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Department of Advanced Prosthodontics, Institute of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan.


In response to infection, macrophages produce a series of inflammatory mediators, including nitric oxide (NO), to eliminate pathogens. The production of these molecules is tightly regulated via various mechanisms, as excessive responses are often detrimental to host tissues. Here, we report that inorganic polyphosphate [poly(P)], a linear polymer of orthophosphate ubiquitously found in mammalian cells, suppresses inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a cell wall component of Gram-negative bacteria, in mouse peritoneal macrophages. Poly(P) with longer chains is more potent than those with shorter chains in suppressing LPS-induced iNOS expression. In addition, poly(P) decreased LPS-induced NO release. Moreover, poly(P) suppressed iNOS mRNA expression induced by LPS stimulation, thereby indicating that poly(P) reduces LPS-induced iNOS expression by down-regulation at the mRNA level. In contrast, poly(P) did not affect the LPS-induced release of TNF, another inflammatory mediator. Poly(P) may serve as a regulatory factor of innate immunity by modulating iNOS expression in macrophages.

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