Recent demonstration of cytokine-inducible production of nitric oxide (NO) in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) from rat aorta has implicated VSMC-derived NO as a key mediator of hypotension in septic shock. Our studies to determine whether an inducible NO pathway exists in human VSMC have revealed a novel cytokine-inducible, NO-independent pathway of guanylate cyclase activation in VSMC from human saphenous vein (HSVSMC). Interleukin 1 (IL-1), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) and Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) increased cGMP at 24 h, whereas IL-2 and IL-6 were ineffective. The effect of IL-1 on cyclic guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cGMP) was delayed, occurring after 6 h of exposure, and was maximal after 10 h. Methylene blue and LY83583 reversed the IL-1-induced increase in cGMP, suggesting that it was mediated by activation of soluble guanylate cyclase. However, IL-1-induced cGMP in HSVSMC was not inhibited by extracellular hemoglobin. Also, the effect of IL-1 on cGMP was not reversed by nitro- or methyl-substituted L-arginine analogs, aminoguanidine, or diphenyleneiodonium, all of which inhibit IL-1-induced NO synthase in rat aortic VSMC (RAVSMC). IL-1-induced cGMP in HSVSMC was also independent of tetrahydrobiopterin and extracellular L-arginine, as it was not affected by 2,4-diamino-6-hydroxyprytimidine, an inhibitor of tetrahydrobiopterin biosynthesis, and was similar in L-arginine-free and L-arginine-containing media. Analysis of NO synthase mRNA with the use of polymerase chain reaction indicates that levels of mRNA for inducible NO synthase are several orders of magnitude lower in IL-1-treated human HSVSMC than in IL-1-treated RAVSMC. IL-1-induced cGMP was also NO independent in human umbilical artery VSMC, and NO dependent in rat vena cava VSMC. Together these results indicate that IL-1 activates a novel NO-independent pathway of soluble guanylate cyclase activation in human VSMC.

This content is only available as a PDF.