Tetrahydrobiopterin prevents platelet-activating factor-induced intestinal hypoperfusion and necrosis: Role of neuronal nitric oxide synthase

Xiao Wu Qu*, Larry G. Thaete, Ranna A. Rozenfeld, Yaqin Zhu, Isabelle G. De Plaen, Michael S. Caplan, Wei Hsueh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: We reported previously that neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nHOS) is the predominant NOS in rat small intestine and is down-regulated by platelet-activating factor (PAF). The severity of the bowel injury induced by PAF is inversely related to its suppressing effect on nNOS. Here, we investigated whether intestinal perfusion is regulated by nHOS and whether tetrahydrobiopterin, a co-factor and stabilizer of nNOS, reverses PAF-induced intestinal hypoperfusion and injury. Setting: Animal laboratory. Designen: first examined nNOS regulation of splanchnic blood flow by measuring the perfusion of the heart, lung, ileum, and kidney in rats after a nNOS inhibitor. We then examined the protective effect of tetrahydroblopterin on PAF-induced bowel injury, mesenteric hypoperfusion, and systemic inflammation. Subjects: Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Intervention: In part 1 of the experiment, rats were given 7-nitroindarale (a specific nNOS inhibitor, 50 mg·kg -1-day-1. In in part 2 of the experiment, rats were treated with tetrahydrobiop terin (20 mg/kg) 5 mins before and 30 mins after PAF challenge (2.2 μg/kg, intravenously) Measurements: Perfusion of the heart, lung, ileum, and kidney was measured at 1 and 4 days after 7-nitroindazole, using fluorescent microspheres. Intestinal injury and inflammation (myeloperoxidase content), blood perfusion, calcium dependent-NOS activity, and systemic inflammation (hypotension and hemafocrit increase) were assessed 1 hr after PAF with and without tetrahydrobiopterin treatment. Results: In part 1 of trie experiment, 7-nitroindazole induced a long-lasting reduction of blood perfusion and inducible NOS expression selectively in the ileum but not in nonsplanchnic organs such as heart, lungs, and kidneys. Dn part 2, tetrahydrobiopterin protected against PAF-induced intestinal necrosis, hypoperfusion, neutrophll influx, and EWS suppression, it also reversed hypotension and hemoconcentration. Sepiapterin (2 mg/kg, stable tetrahydrobiopterin precursor) also attenuated PAF-induced intestinal injury. Conclusions: We conclude that nNOS selectively regulates intestinal perfusion. Tetrahydrobiopterin prevents PAF-induced intestinal injury, probably by stabilizing nNOS and maintaining intestinal perfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1050-1056
Number of pages7
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Intestinal perfusion
  • Intestine
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Platelet-activating factor
  • Shock
  • Tetrahydrobiopterin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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