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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 9 (2000), Issue 6, Pages 285-287

Sera from patients with sepsis induce nitric oxide production in vascular smooth muscle cells

1Department of Internal Medicine, Tokyo Metropolitan Bokutou General Hospital, 4–23–15 Koutoubashi, Sumida-ku, Tokyo 130–8575, Japan
2Section of Cellular Physiological Chemistry, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1–5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113, Japan

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background: Nitric oxide (NO) is an important physiological mediator of vascular tone and is involved in pathophysiology of septic shock. Although plasma nitrite is a stable end product of NO oxidation derived from endogenous NO, the plasma nitrite level is also easily affected by the intake of various foods, bacterial products and renal functional status.

Aims: We propose an excellent alternative assay technique for measuring endogenous NO production.

Methods: We measured the nitrite level in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) treated with serum obtained from patients with sepsis (4 patients), by means of a chemiluminescence detector.

Results: The nitrite concentrations in such cells were significantly higher as compared to those in the cells treated with normal serum. Moreover, the increased nitrite levels in the SMC treated with the sera obtained from patients with sepsis were completely inhibited by L-nitroarginine (1 mmol/L), a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor.

Conclusion: These data suggest that this assay method enable us to know the ability of endogenous NO production in each patient.