Blockade of neuronal nitric oxide synthase reduces cone cell death in a model of retinitis pigmentosa

Keiichi Komeima, Shinichi Usui, Jikui Shen, Brian S. Rogers, Peter A. Campochiaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of diseases in which many different mutations cause rod photoreceptor cells to die and then gradually cone photoreceptors die due to progressive oxidative damage. In this study, we have shown that peroxynitrite-induced nitrosative damage also occurs. In the rd1 mouse model of RP, there was increased staining for S-nitrosocysteine and nitrotyrosine protein adducts that are generated by peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite is generated from nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide radicals. After degeneration of rods, injection of hydroethidine resulted in strong fluorescence in the retina of rd1 mice, indicating high levels of superoxide radicals, and this was reduced, as was nitrotyrosine staining, by apocynin, suggesting that overaction of NADP(H) oxidase is at least partially responsible. Treatment of rd1 mice with a mixture of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitors markedly reduced S-nitrosocysteine and nitrotyrosine staining and significantly increased cone survival, indicating that NO-derived peroxynitrite contributes to cone cell death. Treatment with 7-nitroindazole, a relatively specific inhibitor of neuronal NOS, also significantly reduced cone cell death, but aminoguanidine, a relatively specific inhibitor of inducible NOS, did not. These data suggest that NO generated by neuronal NOS exacerbates oxidative damage to cones in RP and that combined therapy to reduce NO and oxidative stress should be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-912
Number of pages8
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2008


  • Antioxidants
  • Apoptosis
  • Photoreceptors
  • Reactive nitrogen species
  • Retina
  • Retinal dystrophies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Blockade of neuronal nitric oxide synthase reduces cone cell death in a model of retinitis pigmentosa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this