Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) derived from the outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria induces acute lung injury (ALI) in mice. This injury is associated with lung edema, inflammation, diffuse alveolar damage, and severe respiratory insufficiency. We have previously reported that LPS-mediated nitric oxide synthase (NOS) uncoupling, through increases in asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), plays an important role in the development of ALI through the generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. Therefore, the focus of this study was to determine whether mice deficient in endothelial NOS (eNOS-/-) are protected against ALI. In both wild-type and eNOS-/- mice, ALI was induced by the intratracheal instillation of LPS (2 mg/kg). After 24 hours, we found that eNOS-/- mice were protected against the LPS mediated increase in inflammatory cell infiltration, inflammatory cytokine production, and lung injury. In addition, LPS exposed eNOS-/- mice had increased oxygen saturation and improved lung mechanics. The protection in eNOS-/- mice was associated with an attenuated production of NO, NOS derived superoxide, and peroxynitrite. Furthermore, we found that eNOS-/- mice had less RhoA activation that correlated with a reduction in RhoA nitration at Tyr34. Finally, we found that the reduction in NOS uncoupling in eNOS-/- mice was due to a preservation of dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) activity that prevented the LPS-mediated increase in ADMA. Together our data suggest that eNOS derived reactive species play an important role in the development of LPS-mediated lung injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas