The role of nitric oxide in small intestinal motility in a model of acute inflammation

Lida A Anestidou, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Motility responses of the small intestine of iNOS deficient mice (iNOS −/−) and their wildtype littermates (iNOS+/+) to the inflammatory challenge of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were investigated. LPS administration failed to attenuate intestinal transit in iNOS−/− mice but depressed transit in their iNOS+/+ littermates. Supporting an inhibitory role for sustained nitric oxide (NO) synthesis in the regulation of intestinal motility during inflammation, iNOS immunoreactivity was upregulated in all regions of the small intestine of iNOS+/+ mice. In contrast, neuronal NOS was barely affected. Cyclooxygenase activation was determined by prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) concentration. Following LPS challenge, PGE2 levels were elevated in all intestinal segments in both animal groups. Moreover, COX-1 and COX-2 protein levels were elevated in iNOS+/+ mice in response to LPS, while COX-2 levels were similarly increased in iNOS −/− intestine. However, no apparent relationship was observed between increased prostaglandin concentrations and attenuated intestinal transit. The presence of heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1) in the murine small intestine was also investigated. In both animal groups HO-1 immunoreactivity in the proximal intestine increased in response to treatment, while the constitutive protein levels detected in the middle and distal intestine were unresponsive to LPS administration. No apparent correlation of HO-1 to the suppression of small intestinal motility induced by LPS administration was detected. The presence of S-nitrosylated contractile proteins in the small intestine was determined. γ-smooth muscle actin was basally nitrosylated as well as in response to LPS, but myosin light chain kinase and myosin regulatory chain (MLC20) were not. In conclusion, in a model of acute intestinal inflammation, iNOS-produced NO plays a significant role in suppressing small intestinal motility while nNOS, COX-1, COX-2 and HO-1 do not participate in this event. S-nitrosylation of γ-smooth muscle actin is associated with elevated levels of nitric oxide in the smooth muscle of murine small intestine.

Subject Area

Anatomy & physiology|Animals|Biochemistry

Recommended Citation

Anestidou, Lida A, "The role of nitric oxide in small intestinal motility in a model of acute inflammation" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3151538.