Nitric oxide (NO) is a potent biological messenger molecule in the central nervous system (CNS). There are several potential sources of NO production in the CNS, including neurons and endothelial cells which express NO synthase (NOS) constitutively. Astrocytes and microglia can be induced by cytokines to express a NOS isoform similar to macrophage NOS (mNOS). Primary mixed glial cultures exposed to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or a combination of LPS and γ-interferon (INF-γ) produce nitrite, a breakdown product of NO formation, in a dose-dependent manner. Nitrite production is detectable at 12 hr, peaks at 48 hr and is sustained for at least 96 hr. The NOS inhibitor, nitro-l-arginine (NArg), inhibits nitrite formation, but the immunosuppressant agent, FK506, does not. In mixed glial-neuronal cultures exposed to 50 ng LPS or 5 ng LPS and 1 μg INF-γ, neurons begin to die at 48 hr, approx. 24-36 hr after detectable nitrite production. Neurotoxicity is attenuated by 100 μM NArg. These data indicate that expression of inducible mNOS causes delayed neurotoxicity.
- Macrophage nitric oxide synthase
- nitric oxide
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience