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Immunology. 1998 Aug;94(4):560-8.

The regulation of superoxide generation and nitric oxide synthesis by C-reactive protein.

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Department of Biochemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, Newfoundland, Canada.


Activated macrophages utilize both reactive oxygen intermediates and reactive oxynitrogen intermediates for defence against microbes. However, simultaneous generation of superoxide (O- 2;) and nitric oxide (NO) could be harmful to host cells due to the production of peroxynitrite, nitrogen dioxide and hydroxyl radicals. Therefore, the regulation of the production of these molecules is critical to host survival. During periods of inflammation or infection, the level of serum C-reactive protein (CRP) increases in many species. Human and rat CRP have been shown to bind and interact with phagocytic cells. Since many of the interactions of CRP involve the binding to the phosphocholine ligand, we studied the role of CRP in O- 2; and NO generation through the modulation of phosphatidylcholine (PC) metabolism in macrophages. This study has shown that, while rat CRP inhibited phorbol myristate acetate- (PMA) induced release of O- 2; by rat macrophages, CRP-treated macrophages released NO in a time- and dose-dependent manner. CRP increased inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) enzyme as well as iNOS mRNA levels in rat macrophages. Tricyclodecan-9-yl-xanthogenate (D609), an inhibitor to PC phospholipase C (PC-PLC), suppressed iNOS induction but enhanced PMA-induced release of O- 2;. These data indicate that an increased level of CRP during periods of inflammation may result in differential regulation of macrophage NADPH oxidase and iNOS activity. Increased hepatic synthesis of CRP may contribute to the mechanism by which phagocytic cells avoid simultaneous O- 2; and NO synthesis, and this could possibly be mediated through the regulation of PC-PLC.

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