Nitric oxide (NO) is a free radical that is produced by a number of mammalian cell types from l-arginine and a critical mediator that acts in many tissues to regulate a diverse range of physiological processes. The major metabolic end product for NO is nitrate (NO3) and nitrite (NO2), which are stable metabolites within tissue, plasma, and urine. Measurements of nitrate and nitrite values reveal alterations in NO production. Endogenously generated or exogenously applied NO causes DNA cleavage by endonuclease activation.
We investigated the effect of l-arginine and mitomycin C (MMC) on cultured lymphocytes of healthy individuals. We observed chromosome breaks, apoptotic cells and increased NO levels after l-arginine and MMC addition. In conclusion, our results confirmed that NO may be the cause of apoptotic cell death in l-arginine added lymphocyte culture.