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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2014, Article ID 896029, 14 pages
Research Article

Cholecystokinin Inhibits Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase Expression by Lipopolysaccharide-Stimulated Peritoneal Macrophages

1Departamento de Fisiologia, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Avenida dos Bandeirantes 3900, 14049-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
2Departamento de Farmacologia, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, 14049-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil
3Departamento de Enfermagem Geral e Especializada, Escola de Enfermagem de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, 14040-902 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil

Received 18 March 2014; Revised 26 May 2014; Accepted 23 June 2014; Published 13 July 2014

Academic Editor: Sandra Helena Penha Oliveira

Copyright © 2014 Rafael Simone Saia et al. 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.


Cholecystokinin (CCK) was first described as a gastrointestinal hormone. However, apart from its gastrointestinal effects, studies have described that CCK also plays immunoregulatory roles. Taking in account the involvement of inducible nitric oxide synthase- (iNOS-) derived NO in the sepsis context, the present study was undertaken to investigate the role of CCK on iNOS expression in LPS-activated peritoneal macrophages. Our results revealed that CCK reduces NO production and attenuates the iNOS mRNA expression and protein formation. Furthermore, CCK inhibited the nuclear factor- (NF-) κB pathway reducing IκBα degradation and minor p65-dependent translocation to the nucleus. Moreover, CCK restored the intracellular cAMP content activating the protein kinase A (PKA) pathway, which resulted in a negative modulatory role on iNOS expression. In peritoneal macrophages, the CCK-1R expression, but not CCK-2R, was predominant and upregulated by LPS. The pharmacological studies confirmed that CCK-1R subtype is the major receptor responsible for the biological effects of CCK. These data suggest an anti-inflammatory role for the peptide CCK in modulating iNOS-derived NO synthesis, possibly controlling the macrophage activation through NF-κB, cAMP-PKA, and CCK-1R pathways. Based on these findings, CCK could be used as an adjuvant agent to modulate the inflammatory response and prevent systemic complications commonly found during sepsis.