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Am J Physiol. 1995 May;268(5 Pt 1):L862-7.

TGF-beta regulates production of NO in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells by inhibiting expression of NOS.

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1
Division of Pediatric Pulmonology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh 15261, USA.

Abstract

We have previously reported that a mixture of lipopolysaccharide and cytokines stimulates cultured rat pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (RPASM) to express elevated levels of mRNA for inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), and to produce large amounts of nitric oxide (NO). The current study tests the hypothesis that transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) modulates this process. Accordingly, RPASM were treated with a mixture of LPS (10 micrograms/ml) and the cytokines interleukin-1 beta (5 U/ml), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (500 U/ml), and interferon-gamma (100 U/ml). In the absence of TGF-beta 1, NO production (indicated by colorimetric assay of cumulative nitrite levels at 24 h) was greatly increased, as previously observed. Under identical conditions, TGF-beta 1 caused a concentration-dependent decrease in NO production. The addition of neither excess L-arginine nor sepiapterin reversed the inhibition, indicating that the effect of TGF-beta 1 was not due to limitation of enzyme substrate or cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin, respectively. Northern and Western analyses showed that TGF-beta 1 reduced levels of iNOS mRNA and protein to baseline at all time points examined up to 24 h. Complete suppression of iNOS protein expression was evident even when TGF-beta 1 was added at postinduction time points. One mechanism of action of TGF-beta 1 was demonstrated in experiments in which degradation of iNOS protein was greatly increased by the addition of TGF-beta 1. These results demonstrate that TGF-beta 1 regulates production of NO in RPASM by inhibiting iNOS expression in part by increasing degradation of existing iNOS protein.

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