Inhibition of nitric oxide synthase produces hypothermia and depresses lipopolysaccharide fever

Thomas E. Scammell, Joel K. Elmquist, Clifford B. Saper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


The labile gas nitric oxide (NO) mediates a wide variety of thermoregulatory processes including vasomotor control, brown fat thermogenesis, and neuroendocrine regulation. Additionally, during endotoxemia, NO modulates the release of cytokines and hypothalamic peptides. To determine the role of NO in thermoregulation and fever, we intravenously injected the NO synthase (NOS) inhibitor N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) and measured its effects on body temperature during normal thermoregulation and endotoxemia in awake, unrestrained rats. L-NAME produced a stereoselective, dose-dependent hypothermia that lasted up to 4 h after bolus intravenous injection. Intravenous lipopolysaccharide (LPS) produced fever in a dose-dependent manner, which was preceded by hypothermia at higher doses of LPS. NOS inhibition reduced the febrile response to LPS and produced marked hypothermia with a low dose of LPS. These findings indicate that NO may play an important role in thermoregulation and suggest that NO is required for the production of fever.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R333-R338
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2 40-2
StatePublished - Aug 1996


  • body temperature
  • endotoxin
  • fever
  • hypothermia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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