Nitric Oxide as a Mediator of Oxidant Lung Injury Due to Paraquat
At low concentrations, nitric oxide is a physiological transmitter, but in excessive concentrations it may cause cell and tissue injury. We report that in acute oxidant injury induced by the herbicide paraquat in isolated guinea pig lungs, nitric oxide synthesis was markedly stimulated, as evidenced by increased levels of cyclic GMP in lung perfusate and of nitrite and L-citrulline production in lung tissue. All signs of injury, including increased airway and perfusion pressures, pulmonary edema, and protein leakage into the airspaces, were dose-dependently attenuated or totally prevented by either N^G-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester or N^ω-nitro-L-arginine, selective and competitive inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase. Protection was reversed by excess L-arginine but not by its enantiomer D-arginine. When blood was added to the lung perfusate, the paraquat injury was moderated or delayed as it was when paraquat was given to anesthetized guinea pigs. The rapid onset of injury and its failure to occur in the absence of Ca2+ suggest that constitutive rather than inducible nitric oxide synthase was responsible for the stimulated nitric oxide synthesis. The findings indicate that nitric oxide plays a critical role in the production of lung tissue injury due to paraquat, and it may be a pathogenetic factor in other forms of oxidant tissue injury.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
- Pub Date:
- August 1994