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Br J Pharmacol. 1993 Mar;108(3):833-7.

Feedback inhibition of nitric oxide synthase activity by nitric oxide.

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Wellcome Research Laboratories, Beckenham, Kent.


1. A murine macrophage cell line, J774, expressed nitric oxide (NO) synthase activity in response to interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma, 10 u ml-1) plus lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 10 ng ml-1). The enzyme activity was first detectable 6 h after incubation, peaked at 12 h and became undetectable after 48 h. 2. The decline in the NO synthase activity was not due to inhibition by stable substances secreted by the cells into the culture supernatant. 3. The decline in the NO synthase activity was significantly slowed down in cells cultured in a low L-arginine medium or with added haemoglobin, suggesting that NO may be involved in a feedback inhibitory mechanism. 4. The addition of NO generators, S-nitroso-acetyl-penicillamine (SNAP) or S-nitroso-glutathione (GSNO) markedly inhibited the NO synthase activity in a dose-dependent manner. The effect of NO on the enzyme was not due to the inhibition of de novo protein synthesis. 5. SNAP directly inhibited the inducible NO synthase extracted from activated J774 cells, as well as the constitutive NO synthase extracted from the rat brain. 6. The enzyme activity of J774 cells was not restored after the removal of SNAP by gel filtration, suggesting that NO inhibits NO synthase irreversibly.

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