Dual effect of nickel on L-arginine/nitric oxide system in RAW 264.7 macrophages

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The immunogenic mechanisms of the potent contact allergen nickel are not completely clear. Nitric oxide (NO) serves as a fundamental signalling and effector molecule in the immune system, but little is known about its possible role in immune reactions elicited by nickel. We investigated the effects of nickel on the L-arginine/inducible NO synthase (iNOS) system in a murine macrophage cell line, RAW 264.7. Both LPS-stimulated and non-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells were incubated in the presence of 0-100μM nickel sulphate for 24h. Subsequently, NO production, iNOS protein expression, L-arginine uptake and gene expression of iNOS and cationic amino acid transporter systems (CAT) were measured. We found that 100μM NiSO(4) increased LPS-induced nitrite production as well as the formation of [(3)H]-L-citrulline from [(3)H]-L-arginine in the RAW 264.7 cells. Correspondingly, the expression of iNOS gene and protein was also remarkably enhanced. Nevertheless, nickel had an inhibitory effect on L-arginine transport which disappeared gradually upon LPS-stimulation in parallel with an increase in NO output. LPS was found to significantly amplify CAT-3 as well as CAT-2 mRNA expression, mirroring the increase in L-arginine transport. In the range of 1-10μM, NiSO(4) did not have any additional effect on CAT mRNA expression, but at 100μM it was able to enhance CAT-1 and CAT-3 mRNA expression upon LPS stimulation. Our data indicate that nickel interferes with macrophages' L-arginine/NOS system on multiple levels. Considering the potent biological effects of NO, these influences may contribute to nickel toxicity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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