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Environ Health Perspect. 1997 Sep;105 Suppl 5:1297-300.

Expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and formation of nitric oxide by alveolar macrophages: an interspecies comparison.

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Institute for Surgical Research, University of Munich, Germany.


Nitric oxide (NO) is suggested to play a role in mediating pulmonary injury. However, interspecies differences appear to exist in the ability of alveolar macrophages (AM) to express the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and to generate NO. The purpose of this study was to compare iNOS expression and NO production by rat, hamster, monkey, and human AM using the identical experimental conditions in vitro. As AM donors, CD rats, Syrian golden hamsters, cynomolgus monkeys, and nonsmoking, healthy human volunteers were used. The AM were obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage and stimulated in vitro with various concentrations and combinations of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). The oxidation product of NO, nitrite, was measured in the AM supernatant by the Griess reaction. The expression of iNOS in AM was detected using immunocytochemistry and immunoblotting. The expression of iNOS mRNA was assessed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Rat AM, stimulated with either LPS or IFN-gamma, produced nitrite in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Combination of LPS and IFN-gamma resulted in a significantly enhanced nitrite formation. However, none of the treatments was able to induce hamster, monkey, or human AM to release measurable amounts of nitrite. Whereas expression of iNOS protein was only detected in stimulated rat AM, expression of iNOS mRNA was found in unstimulated and stimulated rat AM, slightly in stimulated hamster AM, but not in monkey and human AM. In conclusion, our findings point to distinct regulatory mechanisms of the NO pathway in AM from these four different species.

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