The effects of L-arginine on corticosterone production, cGMP, and nitrite levels were examined in zona fasciculata adrenal cells. L-Arginine significantly decreased both basal and ACTH-stimulated corticosterone production. This effect was still evident when steroi-dogenesis was induced by 8-bromo-cAMP and 22(R)-hydroxycholesterol, but not in the presence of exogenously added pregnenolone. L-Arginine increased cGMP and nitrite levels,; these effects were blocked by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl-ester. Transport of L-[3H]arginine was rapid, saturable, and monophasic, with an apparent K(m) of 163 ± 14 μM and a maximum velocity of 53 ± 6 pmol/min. 105 cells. The basic amino acids L-lysine and L-ornithine, but not D-arginine or the nitric oxide synthase inhibitors N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl-ester and N(G)-nitro-L-arginine, impaired L-arginine uptake. Taken together, these results suggest that steroidogenesis in zona fasciculata adrenal cells may be negatively modulated by L-arginine-derived nitric oxide.
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