Endotoxin stimulates arginine transport in pulmonary artery endothelial cells

D. S. Lind, E. M. Copeland, W. W. Souba*, C. C. Baker, T. Billiar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background. The pulmonary endothelium plays an important role in the metabolism of the amino acid arginine, the exclusive precursor molecule for nitric oxide (NO). Despite decreased circulating arginine levels, endothelial NO production is elevated during endotoxemia. However, the regulation of pulmonary artery endothelial arginine transport has not been studied. We hypothesized that endotoxin stimulates carrier-mediated arginine transport by the pulmonary endothelium. Methods. The relative contributions of the various transport systems to total arginine transport by porcine pulmonary artery endothelial cells (PAECs) was determined by assaying the uptake of 3H-L- arginine in the presence or absence of Na+. PAECs were then incubated with various concentrations of Escherichia coli endotoxin, and y+-mediated arginine transport was measured at different time points thereafter. Kinetic studies were performed over a range of arginine concentrations to determine changes in transport affinity and maximum rate of metabolism. To address the role of RNA and protein synthesis in the increased transport, uptake was measured after exposure of cells to the transcriptional inhibitor actinomycin D and the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. Results. Most (75%) of arginine transport by PAECs was mediated by the high-affinity Na+- independent transport system y+. Endotoxin stimulated y+-mediated arginine transport by PAECs twofold to fivefold, a response that was time and dose dependent. The accelerated transport was detectable within 2 hours and maximal at 12 hours. Kinetic studies revealed that the accelerated arginine transport was the result of a 68% increase in the maximal transport velocity (1519 ± 65 pmol/mg protein/30 sec in endotoxin-treated cells vs 903 ± 96 in control cells; p < 0.01) without a change in transport affinity. The endotoxin-mediated increase in arginine uptake was abrogated by actinomycin D and cycloheximide. Conclusions. Endotoxin stimulates Na+-independent arginine transport by PAECs through a process that requires de novo RNA and protein synthesis, possibly of the transporter itself. This response may be designed to support arginine-dependent biosynthetic pathways in the lung during septic states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-205
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993


Dive into the research topics of 'Endotoxin stimulates arginine transport in pulmonary artery endothelial cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this