• gene expression;
  • iNOS activity;
  • l-NAME;
  • lymphocytes;
  • rats


We have shown previously that nitric oxide (NO) controls platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM-1) expression on both neutrophils and endothelial cells under physiological conditions. Here, the molecular mechanism by which NO regulates lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced endothelial PECAM-1 expression and the role of interleukin (IL)-10 on this control was investigated. For this purpose, N-(G)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME; 20 mg/kg/day for 14 days dissolved in drinking water) was used to inhibit both constitutive (cNOS) and inducible nitric oxide (iNOS) synthase activities in LPS-stimulated Wistar rats (5 mg/kg, intraperitoneally). This treatment resulted in reduced levels of serum NO. Under this condition, circulating levels of IL-10 was enhanced, secreted mainly by circulating lymphocytes, dependent on transcriptional activation, and endothelial PECAM-1 expression was reduced independently on reduced gene synthesis. The connection between NO, IL-10 and PECAM-1 expression was examined by incubating LPS-stimulated (1 µg/ml) cultured endothelial cells obtained from naive rats with supernatant of LPS-stimulated lymphocytes, which were obtained from blood of control or l-NAME-treated rats. Supernatant of LPS-stimulated lymphocytes obtained from l-NAME-treated rats, which contained higher levels of IL-10, reduced LPS-induced PECAM-1 expression by endothelial cells, and this reduction was reversed by adding the anti-IL-10 monoclonal antibody. Therefore, an association between NO, IL-10 and PECAM-1 was found and may represent a novel mechanism by which NO controls endothelial cell functions.