Kupffer cell: Hepatocyte cocultures release nitric oxide in response to bacterial endotoxin

T. R. Billiar*, R. D. Curran, F. K. Ferrari, D. L. Williams, R. L. Simmons

*Corresponding author for this work

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Nitric oxide (NO{radical dot}) is a short-lived intermediate in a biochemical pathway where l-arginine is converted to l-citrulline and nitrite/nitrate (NO2-/NO3-). This highly reactive molecule is the biologically active component of this inducible pathway in macrophages. Using a rat Kupffer cell:hepatocyte (KC:HC) coculture model, we have previously shown that this combination of cells produces large quantities of both citrulline and NO2-/NO3-) if exposed to lipopolysaccharides (LPS) but we did not determine whether nitric oxide was produced or released. We had also shown that this l-arginine metabolism was associated with a profound decrease in total protein synthesis. In these experiments, we show that KC:HC cocultures release nitric oxide into the culture supernatant if exposed to LPS. NO{radical dot} production by these cells requires l-arginine and is inhibited by NG-monomethyl-l-arginine. In addition, the time course for NO{radical dot} release by KC:HC cocultures parallels the previously reported time course for NO2-/NO3- synthesis and the decrease in protein synthesis, supporting the hypothesis that NO{radical dot} is the reactive nitrogen intermediate of the pathway responsible for this inhibition of protein synthesis. Finally, we show that KC:HC cocultures release more NO{radical dot} than KC alone in response to LPS, and we propose that the combination of KC and HC acts as a functional unit capable of generating large amounts of NO{radical dot} from l-arginine in gram-negative sepsis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-353
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1990


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