Carbon monoxide and biliverdin prevent endothelial cell sloughing in rats with type I diabetes

Luigi Rodella, Brian D. Lamon, Rita Rezzani, Bhavani Sangras, Alvin I. Goodman, J R Falck, Nader G. Abraham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Hyperglycemia has been linked to increased oxidative stress, a resultant endothelial cell dysfunction, and, ultimately, apoptosis. Heme oxygenases (HO-1/HO-2) and the products of their activity, biliverdin/bilirubin and carbon monoxide (CO), play a physiological role in the vascular system. The effects of heme-mediated HO-1 induction, CO, and biliverdin on urinary 8-epi-isoprostane PGF and endothelial cell sloughing were examined in an animal model of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes. Hyperglycemia itself did not affect HO-1 and HO-2 protein levels, but caused a net decrease in HO activity. Weekly heme administration induced HO-1 protein, as demonstrated by immunohistochemistry and Western blot analyses. Administration of biliverdin or the CO donor, CORM-3, decreased urinary 8-epi-isoprostane PGF, P < 0.5 compared to diabetes. Hyperglycemia increased endothelial cell sloughing; 8.2 ± 0.8 cells/ml blood in control rats vs. 48 ± 4.8 cells/ml blood in diabetic rats (P < 0.05). Heme administration significantly increased endothelial cell sloughing in diabetic rats (98 ± 8.1 cells/ml blood, P < 0.0007) whereas biliverdin modestly decreased endothelial cell sloughing (26 ± 3.5 cells/ml blood, P < 0.003). Administration of CORM-3 to diabetic rats resulted in a significant decrease in endothelial cell sloughing to 21.3 ± 2.3 (P < 0.001). Administration of SnMP to CORM-3 diabetic rats only partially reversed the protective effects of CORM-3 on endothelial cell sloughing from 21.3 ± 2.3 to 29 ± 2.1 cells/ml, thus confirming a direct protective of CO, in addition to the ability of CORM-3 to induce HO-1 protein. These results demonstrate that exogenously administered CO or bilirubin can prevent endothelial cell sloughing in diabetic rats, likely via a decrease in oxidative stress, and thus represents a novel approach to prophylactic vascular protection in diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2198-2205
Number of pages8
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2006


  • Biliverdin/bilirubin
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Circulating endothelial cells
  • Diabetes
  • Free radicals
  • Heme oxygenase
  • Oxidants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Carbon monoxide and biliverdin prevent endothelial cell sloughing in rats with type I diabetes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this