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Concept: Nitric oxide synthase


Inflammation and oxidative stress play a crucial role in angiotensin (Ang) II-mediated vascular injury. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has recently been identified as a specific Ang II-degrading enzyme but its role in vascular biology remains elusive. We hypothesized that loss of ACE2 would facilitate Ang II-mediated vascular inflammation and peroxynitrite production. 10-week wildtype (WT, Ace2(+/y)) and ACE2 knockout (ACE2KO, Ace2(-/y)) mice received with mini-osmotic pumps with Ang II (1.5⁻¹.d⁻¹) or saline for 2 weeks. Aortic ACE2 protein was obviously reduced in WT mice in response to Ang II related to increases in profilin-1 protein and plasma levels of Ang II and Ang-(1-7). Loss of ACE2 resulted in greater increases in Ang II-induced mRNA expressions of inflammatory cytokines monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6 without affecting tumor necrosis factor-α in aortas of ACE2KO mice. Furthermore, ACE2 deficiency led to greater increases in Ang II-mediated profilin-1 expression, NADPH oxidase activity, and superoxide and peroxynitrite production in the aortas of ACE2KO mice associated with enhanced phosphorylated levels of Akt, p70S6 kinase, extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Interestingly, daily treatment with AT1 receptor blocker irbesartan (50 mg/kg) significantly prevented Ang II-mediated aortic profilin-1 expression, inflammation, and peroxynitrite production in WT mice with enhanced ACE2 levels and the suppression of the Akt-ERK-eNOS signaling pathways. Our findings reveal that ACE2 deficiency worsens Ang II-mediated aortic inflammation and peroxynitrite production associated with the augmentation of profilin-1 expression and the activation of the Akt-ERK-eNOS signaling, suggesting potential therapeutic approaches by enhancing ACE2 action for patients with vascular diseases.

Concepts: Inflammation, Signal transduction, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Endothelium, Angiotensin II receptor antagonist, Nitric oxide, Nitric oxide synthase


Oxidative stress is one of the most critical factors implicated in disease conditions. Buchanania lanzan Spr. (Anacardiaceae) bark powder preparation has been reported for treating an inflammatory condition in the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Oxidative stress, Nitrogen, Radical, Endothelium, Nitric oxide, Vasodilation, Nitric oxide synthase


Blood pressure regulation is known to be maintained by a neuro-endocrine circuit, but whether immune cells contribute to blood pressure homeostasis has not been determined. We previously showed that CD4(+) T lymphocytes that express choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), which catalyzes the synthesis of the vasorelaxant acetylcholine, relay neural signals. Here we show that these CD4(+)CD44(hi)CD62L(lo) T helper cells by gene expression are a distinct T-cell population defined by ChAT (CD4 TChAT). Mice lacking ChAT expression in CD4(+) cells have elevated arterial blood pressure, compared to littermate controls. Jurkat T cells overexpressing ChAT (JTChAT) decreased blood pressure when infused into mice. Co-incubation of JTChAT and endothelial cells increased endothelial cell levels of phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and of nitrates and nitrites in conditioned media, indicating increased release of the potent vasorelaxant nitric oxide. The isolation and characterization of CD4 TChAT cells will enable analysis of the role of these cells in hypotension and hypertension, and may suggest novel therapeutic strategies by targeting cell-mediated vasorelaxation.

Concepts: Immune system, White blood cell, Gene, Atherosclerosis, Blood pressure, T helper cell, Nitric oxide, Nitric oxide synthase


Changes in the gut microbiota may underpin many human diseases, but the mechanisms that are responsible for altering microbial communities remain poorly understood. Antibiotic usage elevates the risk of contracting gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella enterica serovars, increases the duration for which patients shed the pathogen in their faeces, and may on occasion produce a bacteriologic and symptomatic relapse. These antibiotic-induced changes in the gut microbiota can be studied in mice, in which the disruption of a balanced microbial community by treatment with the antibiotic streptomycin leads to an expansion of S. enterica serovars in the large bowel. However, the mechanisms by which streptomycin treatment drives an expansion of S. enterica serovars are not fully resolved. Here we show that host-mediated oxidation of galactose and glucose promotes post-antibiotic expansion of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium). By elevating expression of the gene encoding inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in the caecal mucosa, streptomycin treatment increased post-antibiotic availability of the oxidation products galactarate and glucarate in the murine caecum. S. Typhimurium used galactarate and glucarate within the gut lumen of streptomycin pre-treated mice, and genetic ablation of the respective catabolic pathways reduced S. Typhimurium competitiveness. Our results identify host-mediated oxidation of carbohydrates in the gut as a mechanism for post-antibiotic pathogen expansion.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Microbiology, Nitric oxide, Vasodilation, Salmonella enterica, Salmonella, Nitric oxide synthase


We evaluated the therapeutic potential of a sustained nitric oxide (NO)-releasing compound to correct the molecular hallmarks and pathophysiology of priapism, an important but poorly characterized erectile disorder. 1,5-Bis-(dihexyl-N-nitrosoamino)-2,4-dinitrobenzene (C6') and an inactive form of the compound [1,5-bis-(dihexylamino)-2,4-dinitrobenzene (C6)] were tested in neuronal cell cultures and penile lysates for NO release (Griess assay) and biological activity (cGMP production). The effect of local depot C6' or C6 was evaluated in mice with a priapic phenotype due to double neuronal and endothelial NO synthase deletion (dNOS(-/-)) or human sickle hemoglobin transgenic expression (Sickle). Changes in NO signaling molecules and reactive oxygen species (ROS) surrogates were assessed by Western blot. The physiological response after C6' treatment was assessed using an established model of electrically stimulated penile erection. C6' generated NO, increased cGMP, and dose dependently increased NO metabolites. C6' treatment reversed abnormalities in key penile erection signaling molecules, including phosphodiesterase type 5, phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and phosphorylated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein. In Sickle mice, C6' also attenuated the increased ROS markers gp91(phox), 4-hydroxynonenal, and 3-nitrotyrosine. Finally, C6' corrected the excessive priapic erection response of dNOS(-/-) mice. Exogenous sustained NO release from C6' corrects pathological erectile signaling in mouse models of priapism and suggests novel approaches to human therapy.-Lagoda, G., Sezen, S. F., Hurt, K. J., Cabrini, M. R., Mohanty, D. K., Burnett, A. L. Sustained nitric oxide (NO)-releasing compound reverses dysregulated NO signal transduction in priapism.

Concepts: Oxygen, Molecular biology, Nitric oxide, Erectile dysfunction, Nitric oxide synthase, Penis, Erection, Priapism


A novel phenanthrenoid symmetrical dimer 8,8'-bidehydrojuncusol [1,1',6,6'-tetramethyl-5,5'-divinyl-8,8'-biphenanthrene-2,2',7,7'-tetraol], a related phenanthrenoid monomer, a phenolic chromone, and five flavonoids derivatives have been isolated from the halophyte Juncus acutus L., Juncaceae. The structure of the dimeric phenanthrenoid was determined on the basis of spectroscopic analyses, including 2D NMR spectroscopy, and by spectral correlations. The new dimer and the other isolated compounds bearing four phenolic hydroxy groups showed the significant in vitro antioxidant activity comparable with that of ascorbic acid using 2,2'-azino-bis[3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonate] (ABTS) radical cation decolourisation assay. On the basis of the results from an in vitro anti-inflammatory assay using lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophage cells linked with immunoblot analysis, it was found that dimerisation of dehydrojuncusol [1,6-dimethyl-5-vinyl-8-phenanthrene-2,7-diol] molecule nearly nullified its inhibitory effect on the expression of the pro-inflammatory inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein.

Concepts: Antioxidant, Radical, Dimer, Monomer, Vitamin C, Nitric oxide, Nitric oxide synthase, Juncus acutus


Magnolia bark contains several compounds such as magnolol, honokiol, 4-O-methylhonokiol, obovatol, and other neolignan compounds. These compounds have been reported to have various beneficial effects in various diseases. There is sufficient possibility that ethanol extract of Magnolia officinalis is more effective in amyloidogenesis via synergism of these ingredients. Neuroinflammation has been known to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We investigated whether the ethanol extract of M. officinalis (10 mg/ kg in 0.05% ethanol) prevents memory dysfunction and amyloidogenesis in AD mouse model by intraperitoneal lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 250 µg/ kg/day for seven times) injection. We found that ethanol extract of M. officinalis prevented LPS-induced memory deficiency as well as inhibited the LPS-induced elevation of inflammatory proteins, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase 2, and activation of astrocytes and microglia. In particular, administration of M. officinalis ethanol extract inhibited LPS-induced amyloidogenesis, which resulted in the inhibition of amyloid precursor protein, beta-site amyloid-precursor-protein-cleaving enzyme 1 and C99. Thus, this study shows that ethanol extract of M. officinalis prevents LPS-induced memory impairment as well as amyloidogenesis via inhibition of neuroinflammation and suggests that ethanol extract of M. officinalis might be a useful intervention for neuroinflammation-associated diseases such as AD. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Endothelium, Nitric oxide, Vasodilation, Nitric oxide synthase, Memory loss, Magnolia, Magnolol


Quercetin, a naturally occurring flavonoid, has been reported to possess numerous biological activities including activation of adenosine-5'-monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK). We investigated the effects of quercetin intake during lactation on the AMPK activation in the livers of adult offspring programmed by maternal protein restriction during gestation. Pregnant Wistar rats were fed control and low-protein diets during gestation. Following delivery, each dam received a control or 0.2% quercetin-containing control diet during lactation as follows: control on control (CC), control on restricted (LPC) and 0.2% quercetin-containing control on restricted (LPQ). At weaning (week 3), some of the pups from each dam were killed, and the remaining pups (CC, n=8; LPC, n=10; LPQ, n=13) continued to receive a standard laboratory diet and were killed at week 23. Blood chemistry and phosphorylation levels of AMPKα, acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in the livers of male offspring were examined. At week 3, the level of phosphorylated AMPK protein in LPQ increased about 1.5- and 2.1-fold compared with LPC and CC, respectively, and the level in LPQ at week 23 increased about 1.9- and 2.9-fold, respectively. A significant increase in phosphorylated ACC and eNOS levels was found in LPQ. There was no significant difference among the three groups in the level of phosphorylated mTOR protein. In conclusion, quercetin intake during lactation up-regulates AMPK activation in the adult offspring of protein-restricted dams and modulates the AMPK pathway in the liver.

Concepts: Reproduction, Signal transduction, Adenosine triphosphate, Kinase, Nitric oxide, Nitric oxide synthase, AMP-activated protein kinase, Acetyl-CoA carboxylase


ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Taraxacumcoreanum Nakaiis a dandelion native to Korea and is widely consumed as an edible and medicinal herb. The aerial part of T. coreanum (TC) has been used therapeutically as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory agent, but its mechanism of action has not yet been evaluated. AIM OF THE STUDY: To investigate the anti-inflammatory potential of a TCchloroform fraction(TCC) and its mechanisms of action in vitro and in vivo. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Isolated mouse peritoneal macrophages were stimulated in vitro with interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the presence or absence of TCC. The anti-inflammatory effects of TCC were assessed by measuring nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) production, as well as expression of inducible NO synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), IκBα, phospho-IKK, mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT1). The effects of TCC were tested in vivo by measuring cytokine production and survival in a mouse model of lethal septic shock. And the standard compounds of TC were analyzed by HPLC using a C18 column. RESULTS: Treatment of primary macrophages with TCC in vitro significantly inhibited all of the inflammatory parameters measured, including LPS-induced NO and PGE(2) production, iNOS and COX-2 expression, IκBα degradation, IKK phosphorylation, and MAPK and STAT1 activation. In a mouse model of LPS-induced septic shock, TCC inhibited the production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6, and increased survival by 83%.Standard compounds (gallic acid, syringic acid) of TC were qualified by HPLC analysis. CONCLUSIONS: TCC possesses potent anti-inflammatory activity in vitro and in vivo, which occurs at least partly through inhibition of proinflammatory signaling and mediator release. These results strongly support the therapeutic potential of TCC as an anti-inflammatory agent in vivo.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Signal transduction, Anti-inflammatory, Nitric oxide, Mitogen-activated protein kinase, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, Nitric oxide synthase


NADPH-cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (CYPOR) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS), two members of the diflavin oxidoreductase family, are multi-domain enzymes containing distinct FAD and FMN domains connected by a flexible hinge. FAD accepts a hydride ion from NADPH, and reduced FAD donates electrons to FMN, which in turn transfers electrons to the heme center of cytochrome P450 or NOS oxygenase domain. Structural analysis of CYPOR, the prototype of this enzyme family, has revealed the exact nature of the domain arrangement and the role of residues involved in cofactor binding. Recent structural and biophysical studies of CYPOR have shown that the two flavin domains undergo large domain movements during catalysis. NOS isoforms contain additional regulatory elements within the reductase domain that control electron transfer through Ca(2+)-dependent calmodulin (CaM) binding. The recent crystal structure of an iNOS Ca(2+)/CaM-FMN construct, containing the FMN domain in complex with Ca(2+)/CaM, provided structural information on the linkage between the reductase and oxgenase domains of NOS, making it possible to model the holo iNOS structure. This review summarizes recent advances in our understanding of the dynamics of domain movements during CYPOR catalysis and the role of the NOS diflavin reductase domain in the regulation of NOS isozyme activities.

Concepts: Electron, Metabolism, Enzyme, Cytochrome P450, Nitric oxide, Nitric oxide synthase, Enzymes, Cytochrome P450 reductase