Part of the immune systems pro-inflammatory response to bacterial invasion is to increase nitric oxide levels with an enzyme called inducible nitric oxide synthase. In a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, scientists report that the predominantly anti-inflammatory enzyme, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, is also involved in nitric oxide production in response to infection. This discovery may eventually provide a new target to treat sepsis, which is caused by overproduction of nitric oxide.
The research appears as the "Paper of the Week" in the March 18 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, an American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology journal.
When immune cells are exposed to pro-inflammatory cytokines or bacterial endotoxin (part of the bacterial cell wall) they start to produce inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), an enzyme responsible for the manufacture of nitric oxide (NO). This results in an increase in cellular NO which contributes to inflammation and host defense.
Nicole Kresge | EurekAlert!
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