Exposure of mice to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plus interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) increases nitric oxide (NO) production, which is proposed to play a role in the resulting pulmonary damage and inflammation. To determine the role of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)-induced NO in this lung reaction, the responses of inducible nitric oxide synthase knockout (iNOS KO) versus C57BL/6J wild-type (WT) mice to aspirated LPS + IFN-gamma were compared. Male mice (8-10 weeks) were exposed to LPS (1.2 mg/kg) + IFN-gamma (5000 U/mouse) or saline. At 24 or 72 h postexposure, lungs were lavaged with saline and the acellular fluid from the first bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was analyzed for total antioxidant capacity (TAC), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity, albumin, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2). The cellular fraction of the total BAL was used to determine alveolar macrophage (AM) and polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) counts, and AM zymosan-stimulated chemiluminescence (AM-CL). Pulmonary responses 24 h postexposure to LPS + IFN-gamma were characterized by significantly decreased TAC, increased BAL AMs and PMNs, LDH, albumin, TNF-alpha, and MIP-2, and enhanced AM-CL to the same extent in both WT and iNOS KO mice. Responses 72 h postexposure were similar; however, significant differences were found between WT and iNOS KO mice. iNOS KO mice demonstrated a greater decline in total antioxidant capacity, greater BAL PMNs, LDH, albumin, TNF-alpha, and MIP-2, and an enhanced AM-CL compared to the WT. These data suggest that the role of iNOS-derived NO in the pulmonary response to LPS + IFN-gamma is anti-inflammatory, and this becomes evident over time.
Health Effects Laboratory Division, Pathology and Physiology Research Branch, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, M/S 2015, Morgantown, WV 26505