Differential effects of selective and non-selective inhibition of nitric oxide synthase on the expression and activity of cyclooxygenase-2 during gastric ulcer healing

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Nitric oxide synthases (NOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) are important enzymes involved in ulcer healing but interactions between them have not been clearly defined. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of selective or non-selective inhibition of NOS on the expression and activity of COX-2 during healing of acetic acid-induced gastric ulcers in rats. N-[3-(aminomethyl)benzyl] acetamidine (1400W), a potent selective inhibitor of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), at a dose of 0.1 mg/kg/day, was found to reduce the ulcer sizes at day 3 and 7 post-ulcer induction. On the other hand, 15 mg/kg/day of NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME), a non-selective NOS inhibitor that suppresses both iNOS and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), enlarged the ulcer sizes over the same time periods. The expression of COX-2 and COX activity, together with NF-κB activation in the ulcer tissues were down-regulated by l-NAME but not 1400W. It is concluded that iNOS may contribute to ulcer formation while COX-2 and eNOS promote ulcer healing. eNOS enhances COX-2 expression possibly through the activation of NF-κB.

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