Paradoxical roles of different nitric oxide synthase isoforms in colonic injury

P. L. Beck, R. Xavier, J. Wong, I. Ezedi, H. Mashimo, A. Mizoguchi, E. Mizoguchi, A. K. Bhan, D. K. Podolsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide (NO) is a free radical that is largely produced by three isoforms of NO synthase (NOS): neuronal (nNOS), endothelial (eNOS), and inducible (iNOS). NO regulates numerous processes in the gastrointestinal tract; however, the overall role that NO plays in intestinal inflammation is unclear. NO is upregulated in both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease as well as in animal models of colitis. There have been conflicting reports on whether NO protects or exacerbates injury in colitis or is simply a marker of inflammation. To determine whether the site, timing, and level of NO production modulate the effect on the inflammatory responses, the dextran sodium sulfate model of colitis was assessed in murine lines rendered deficient in iNOS, nNOS, eNOS, or e/nNOS by targeted gene disruption. The loss of nNOS resulted in more severe disease and increased mortality, whereas the loss of eNOS or iNOS was protective. Furthermore, concomitant loss of eNOS reversed the susceptibility found in nNOS-/- mice. Deficiencies in specific NOS isoforms led to distinctive alterations of inflammatory responses, including changes in leukocyte recruitment and alterations in colonic lymphocyte populations. The present studies indicate that NO produced by individual NOS isoforms plays different roles in modulating an inflammatory process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G137-G147
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1 49-1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Dextran sodium sulfate
  • Endothelial nitric oxide synthase
  • Inducible nitric oxide synthase
  • Neuronal nitric oxide synthase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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