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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1997 Oct 15;50(1-2):107-12.

Ibuprofen: effect on inducible nitric oxide synthase.

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CNS Diseases Research, Pharmacia and Upjohn Inc., Kalamazoo, MI 49001, USA.


Treatment with ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) has been reported to decrease the incidence as well as slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Understanding the mechanism of this therapeutic effect would provide a target for development of drugs which may be devoid of side effects observed with NSAIDs. In addition to inhibiting cyclooxygenase (COX), the NSAIDs have recently been shown to decrease inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) activity. Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs had no direct effect on catalytic activity of iNOS, but decreased levels of iNOS mRNA. The mechanism of action of ibuprofen on reduction of iNOS activity has been further investigated in the present study using rat primary cerebellar glial cell cultures. In addition, the effect of ibuprofen on COX mRNA expression and prostaglandin formation was also studied. Glial cells treated with E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and interferony (INFgamma) for 16 h expressed iNOS and COX. Ibuprofen did not directly inhibit iNOS activity. However, when ibuprofen was incubated at the same time with LPS and INFgamma for 16 h, enzyme activity was reduced, with an IC50 of 0.76 mM. Ibuprofen concentration-dependently decreased iNOS mRNA levels, with an IC50 > 2 mM. Thus, there was no correlation between decrease in iNOS activity and reduction in iNOS mRNA levels. Ibuprofen decreased iNOS protein levels, as determined by Western blot, with an IC50 of 0.89 mM. The data suggest that the reduction in iNOS activity by ibuprofen is due to inhibition of post-transcriptional processing of this enzyme. Ibuprofen had no effect on constitutive COX (COX-1) or inducible COX (COX-2) mRNA expression. However, ibuprofen inhibited PGE2 formation with an IC50 of 0.86 mM. The anti-inflammatory actions of ibuprofen have been related to inhibition of COX and, subsequently, reducing prostaglandin formation. Since the potency of ibuprofen for inhibition of PGE2 formation and reduction in iNOS activity are similar, it is suggested that, at therapeutically effective doses, a decrease in iNOS activity may also occur in vivo. Therefore, reduction in iNOS protein levels in the brain may have a role in preserving the integrity of neurons in individuals susceptible to Alzheimer's disease.

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