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      Methylene Blue Inhibits the Increase of Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase Activity Induced by Stress and Lipopolysaccharide in the Medial Basal Hypothalamus of Rats

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          In infection bacterial products such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS) induce inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) that produces large quantities of NO toxic to the invading organisms, but also often has toxic effects on host cells. Therefore, inhibition of iNOS activity might be beneficial in combatting these adverse effects. To determine if methylene blue (MB), an oxidizing agent that inactivates iNOS, would reduce the iNOS levels in the medial basal hypothalami (MBH) of conscious male rats, LPS (5 mg/kg) was injected intravenously (i.v.), and after 3 h they were injected i.v. with either MB (3 mg/kg) or saline and the effects on iNOS in the MBH determined. iNOS was measured by conversion of labeled arginine into citrulline by incubating MBH in the absence of calcium (Ca<sup>2+</sup>) since iNOS does not require Ca<sup>2+</sup> for activation. The results indicate that iNOS was induced by the injection of saline, but the induction by LPS was much greater, an increase of 10-fold above that of control sham-operated animals. Both the induction of iNOS from the stress of saline injections and LPS were completely eliminated by MB indicating that MB might be beneficial in preventing injury to brain tissue following LPS injection. There was no effect of either LPS or MB on the Ca<sup>2+</sup>-dependent constitutive NOS activity.

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          Most cited references 5

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          Inhibition of nitric oxide synthesis by methylene blue.

          Methylene blue appears to inhibit nitric oxide-stimulated soluble guanylyl cyclase and has been widely used for inhibition of cGMP-mediated processes. We report here that endothelium-dependent relaxation of isolated blood vessels and NO synthase-dependent cGMP formation in cultured endothelial cells were both markedly more sensitive to inhibition by methylene blue than effects induced by direct activation of soluble guanylyl cyclase. These discrepancies were also observed when superoxide dismutase (SOD) was present to protect NO from inactivation by superoxide anion. Subsequent experiments showed that formation of L-citrulline by purified NO synthase was completely inhibited by 30 microM methylene blue (IC50 = 5.3 and 9.2 microM in the absence and presence of SOD, respectively), whereas guanylyl cyclase stimulated by S-nitrosoglutathione was far less sensitive to the drug (50% inhibition at approximately 60 microM, and maximal inhibition of 72% at 1 mM methylene blue). Experimental evidence indicated that oxidation of NADPH, tetrahydrobiopterin or reduced flavins does not account for the inhibitory effects of methylene blue. Our data suggest that methylene blue acts as a direct inhibitor of NO synthase and is a much less specific and potent inhibitor of guanylyl cyclase than hitherto assumed.
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            Effect of nitric oxide synthase inhibitors on hypotension in patients with septic shock

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              Stress-induced activation of nitric oxide-producing neurons in the rat brain.

               T Krukoff,  P Khalili (1997)
              Nitric oxide (NO) is a gaseous neurotransmitter that may mediate a decrease in sympathetic output to the periphery. This implication predicts that NO-producing neurons in the brain are activated in animals experiencing increased levels of sympathetic activity. To test this prediction, we subjected three groups of experimental rats to differing levels of environmental stimulation for 1 hour: minimal stimulation, moderate stimulation, and restraint stress. NO-producing neurons were histochemically visualized in sections of the brain, and activation of these neurons was assessed according to the neuronal expression of the immediate early gene c-fos. Constitutive activation of NO-producing neurons was found in the hypothalamus (paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei), dorsal raphe nuclei, and spinal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve of minimally stimulated rats. When animals were subjected to a novel environment (moderate stimulation), additional NO-producing neurons were activated in the medial septum, medial amygdala, hypothalamic nuclei (lateral, periventricular, and posterior), colliculi, nucleus raphe obscurus, medial vestibular nucleus, nucleus of the tractus solitarius, and several components of the ventrolateral medulla. Restraint stress caused the activation of NO-producing neurons in all of these areas, often in increasing numbers, and the activation of additional NO-producing neurons in the diagonal band of Broca, lateral and medial preoptic areas, basomedial and basolateral amygdalar nuclei, hypothalamic nuclei (dorsomedial, retrochiasmatic supraoptic, and circularis), nucleus raphe pontus, lateral parabrachial nucleus, and pontine nuclei. Expressed as a proportion of NO-producing neurons per section, the largest percentages (>20%) of double-stained neurons were found in the basolateral amygdala (46%), hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (35%), corpora quadrigemina (estimated at 40%), dorsal raphe (45%), nuclei raphe pontus (33%) and obscurus (63%), lateral parabrachial nucleus (22%), medial vestibular nucleus (25%), lateral division of the nucleus paragigantocellularis (26%), and lateral reticular nucleus (35%). Evidence from other studies increasingly supports the concept that NO plays a generalized role in autonomic regulation by decreasing sympathetic output. Our results show that more NO-producing neurons were activated during stress than during minimal or moderate levels of stimulation. Together, the evidence suggests that NO is a neurochemical messenger that is utilized by individual autonomic neurons as the organism responds to increased levels of sympathetic activity.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                December 2000
                15 December 2000
                : 8
                : 3
                : 122-127
                aCátedra de Fisiología, Facultad de Odontología, Universidad de Buenos Aires and bCentro de Estudios Farmacológicos y Botánicos, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CEFYBO-CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina; cPennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La., USA
                54271 Neuroimmunomodulation 2000;8:122–127
                © 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, References: 22, Pages: 6
                Original Paper


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