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Am J Physiol. 1996 Aug;271(2 Pt 1):G260-7.

Regulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase in hepatic sinusoidal endothelial cells.

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Liver Center Laboratory, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California 94110, USA.


Nitric oxide (NO) has many important physiological effects that depend in part on its cellular source(s). In liver, NO is produced by all major cell types, including hepatocytes, Kupffer, stellate, and sinusoidal endothelial cells (SECs). Although endothelial cells have been commonly associated with constitutive NO production, recent evidence suggests that NO is inducible in this cell type. Here, we investigated the regulation of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) in SECs. Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) as individual compounds induced iNOS mRNA in SECs. Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) had no effect when used alone but enhanced iNOS mRNA upregulation by IFN-gamma. iNOS transcription after LPS was present only for 4 h after exposure yet was more sustained after IFN-gamma/TNF-alpha, LPS was unique in that it transiently induced iNOS mRNA, whereas IFN-gamma/TNF-alpha resulted in prolonged increases in iNOS mRNA. Both LPS and IFN-gamma/TNF-alpha caused prolonged elevation of immunoreactive protein. However, when stimulated by LPS, iNOS remained enzymatically active for only 24-48 h. After IFN-gamma or IFN-gamma/TNF-alpha, iNOS activity declined only moderately. LPS added to IFN-gamma alone or IFN-gamma/TNF-alpha did not result in more rapid decay of iNOS enzymatic activity. These data indicate that induction of iNOS by sinusoidal endothelial cells is prominent and that it is regulated both transcriptionally and by its inactivation. Such complex regulation of iNOS has important implications for NO biology in liver disease.

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