Nitric oxide inhibition increases matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression by rat aortic smooth muscle cells in vitro

Gilbert R. Upchurch, John W. Ford, Steven J. Weiss, Brian S. Knipp, David A. Peterson, Robert W. Thompson, Matthew J. Eagleton, Autumn J. Broady, Mary C. Proctor, James C. Stanley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Objective: The hypothesis to be tested was that diminished bioavailable nitric oxide (NO) affects matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression and activation in vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Methods: Cultivated rat aortic SMCs (RA-SMCs) were exposed to increasing concentrations of L-N-monomethyl arginine (L-NMMA), a nonselective inhibitor of NO synthase, in the presence of proinflammatory cytokines (50 ng/mL interleukin [IL]-1β, 50 ng/mL interferon-γ, and 30 μg/mL lipopolysaccharide). Nitrite and nitrate, two of the final end products of NO metabolism, were measured in media collected at 48 hours with the use of the Saville assay (n = 4). MMP activity was measured with 1% gelatin zymography (n = 4). In separate experiments in which 2 ng/mL of IL-1β and L-NMMA was used, MMP protein and messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were determined with Western blot analysis (n = 3) and semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (n = 3), respectively. Data were analyzed with nonparametric analysis of variance. Results: Increasing concentrations of the NO synthase inhibitor L-NMMA caused a dose-dependent decrease (P < .05) in nitrite and nitrate production by RA-SMCs after cytokine exposure. Zymography documented an early dose-dependent increase (P < .05 compared with cytokines alone) in 92-kd MMP activity, with no significant changes in 72-kd MMP activity after treatment with L-NMMA (P > .05 compared with cytokines alone). Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis revealed that the addition of L-NMMA to IL-1β-stimulated RA-SMCs led to significant increases in MMP-9 mRNA (n = 3, P < .01 for 1.0 mmol/L L-NMMA) and MMP-9 protein levels (n = 3, P < .05), respectively. No differences in MMP-2 mRNA or protein levels were demonstrated. Conclusions: Inhibition of cytokine-induced NO expression in RA-SMCs is associated with a selective, dose-dependent increase in MMP-9 expression and synthesis. These findings suggest that alterations in local NO synthesis may influence MMP-9-dependent vessel wall damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-83
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2001


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