Induced nitric oxide promotes intestinal inflammation following hemorrhagic shock

Christian Hierholzer, Jörg C. Kalff, Timothy R. Billiar, Anthony J. Bauer, David J. Tweardy, Brian G. Harbrecht*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


In hemorrhagic shock (HS), increased cytokine production contributes to tissue inflammation and injury through the recruitment of neutrophils [polymorphonuclear cells (PMN)]. HS stimulates the early expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) that modulates proinflammatory activation after hemorrhage. Experiments were performed to determine the contribution of iNOS to gut inflammation and dysmotility after HS. Rats subjected to HS (mean arterial pressure 40 mmHg for 2.5 h followed by resuscitation and death at 4 h) demonstrated histological signs of mucosal injury, impairment of intestinal smooth muscle contractility, extravasation of PMN, and increased gut mRNA levels of ICAM-1, IL-6, and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). In addition, DNA binding activity of NF-κB and Stat3, an IL-6 signaling intermediate, was significantly increased. In shocked rats treated with the selective iNOS inhibitor L-N 6-(1-iminoethyl)-lysine at the time of resuscitation, histological signs of intestinal injury and PMN infiltration were reduced and muscle contractility was almost completely restored. Selective iNOS inhibition in shocked animals reduced the binding activity of NF-κB and Stat3 and reduced mRNA levels of ICAM-1, IL-6, and G-CSF. The results of studies using iNOS knockout mice subjected to HS were similar. We propose that early upregulation of iNOS contributes to the inflammatory response in the gut wall and participates in the activation of signaling cascades and cytokine expression that regulate intestinal injury, PMN recruitment, and impaired gut motility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G225-G233
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number2 49-2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokines
  • Ileus
  • Intestinal function
  • Nuclear factor-κB


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