Exp Mol Med.  2004 Aug;36(4):311-324.

Nitric oxide suppresses inducible nitric oxide synthase expression by inhibiting post-translational modification of I kappa B

  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, School of Medicine Kangwon National University Chuncheon, Gangwon-do, Korea. ymkim@kangwon.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Anesthesiology School of Medicine Kangwon National University Chuncheon, Gangwon-do, Korea.
  • 3Department of Surgery University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • 4Department of Microbiology and Immunology Wonkwang University School of Medicine Iksan, Jeonbuk, Korea.
  • 5Department of Biochemistry College of Science, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.


The expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is a critical factor in both normal physiological functions and the pathogenesis of disease. This study was undertaken to determine the molecular mechanism by which nitric oxide (NO) exerts negative feedback regulation on iNOS gene expression. Isolated rat hepatocytes stimulated with cytokines exhibited a marked increase in NO production as well as iNOS mRNA and protein levels, which were significantly reduced by pretreatment of the NO donors S-nitroso-N-acetyl-D, L-penicillamine (SNAP) and V-PYRRO/NO. This effect of SNAP was inhibited when NO was scavenged using red blood cells. Pretreatment with oxidized SNAP, 8-Br-cGMP, NO2-, or NO3- did not suppress the cytokine-induced NO production. Moreover, LPS/ IFN-gamma-stimulated RAW264.7 cells, which produce endogenous NO, expressed lower levels of iNOS, IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha mRNAs, without changes in their mRNA half-lives, than those in the presence of the iNOS inhibitor NG-monomethyl- L-arginine. The iNOS gene transcription rate exhibited an 18-fold increase after cytokine stimulation, which was significantly inhibited by SNAP pretreatment. SNAP also blocked cytokine- induced increase in NF-kappa B activation, iNOS promoter activity, nuclear translocation of cytosolic NF-kappa B p65 subunit, and I kappa B alpha degradation, which correlated with its inhibitory effect on phosphorylation and ubiquitination of I kappa B. These data indicate that NO down-regulates iNOS gene expression and NO production by inhibiting the post-translational processes of I kappa B alpha thereby preventing NF-kappa B activation. These results identify a novel negative feedback mechanism whereby NO down-regulates iNOS gene expression.


feedback inhibition; hepatocytes; I kappa B; inducible nitric oxide synthase; NF-kappa B; nitric oxide
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