Galactosamine decreases nitric oxide formation in cultured rat hepatocytes: Mechanism of suppression

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We have shown that nitric oxide production is dramatically decreased in rat primary hepatocyte cultures exposed to galactosamine. Cotreatment of the cells with uridine, which is known to prevent cytotoxicity, was found to also attenuate NO loss. In the present study, two possible mechanisms for the decreased nitric oxide production were examined. First, we examined the possibility that galactosamine could interfere with the uptake of extracellular arginine by the cultured hepatocytes. Cellular uptake of arginine was determined after addition of 14C-arginine at the time of hepatocyte attachment. Uptake of arginine was rapid in control cultures, and both the rate and level of uptake were unchanged by the addition of a cytotoxic concentration of galactosamine (4 mM). In addition, increased concentrations of arginine in the cell culture medium did not ameliorate the galactosamine-induced decrease in production of nitric oxide. Second, we determined whether the synthesis of inducible nitric oxide synthase in the hepatocyte cultures was inhibited by addition of galactosamine. Hepatocyte levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase were determined immunochemically at various times after the addition of galactosamine (4 mM). In control cultures, inducible nitric oxide synthase was detectable at 7 and 24 hours after attachment. In contrast, no nitric oxide synthase protein was detectable at any time in the galactosamine-treated cultures. Furthermore, addition of galactosamine after inducible nitric oxide synthase had already been synthesized (6.5 h after attachment) did not result in suppression of nitric oxide production in the hepatocyte cultures. The present studies suggest that galactosamine suppresses nitric oxide production in hepatocyte cultures by inhibiting synthesis of inducible nitric oxide synthase, rather than by interference in cellular uptake of arginine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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