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CB Cymeryng, LA Dada, and EJ Podesta

The present study was designed to investigate the role of nitric oxide (NO) in the regulation of adrenocortical function. Different NO donors, such as sodium nitroprusside (SNP), S-nitroso-L-acetyl penicillamine, diethylamine/NO complex sodium salt and diethylenetriamine NO adduct, significantly decreased corticosterone production both in unstimulated and in corticotropin-stimulated zone fasciculata adrenal cells, in a dose-dependent manner. The effect of SNP was reversed by ferrous hemoglobin. A selective inhibitor of NO synthase, L-NG-nitro-arginine significantly increased corticosterone secretion. The effect of SNP was not mediated by cGMP as permeable cGMP analogs did not reproduce its inhibitory effect. SNP significantly inhibited the steroidogenesis stimulated by 8Br-cAMP and 22(R)-OH-cholesterol, but was ineffective when corticosterone was produced in the presence of exogenously added pregnenolone. Moreover, the conversion of [3H]cholesterol to [3H]pregnenolone and the production of pregnenolone or progesterone (assessed by RIA) were significantly decreased by SNP. Taken together, these results suggest that NO may be a negative modulator of adrenal zona fasciculata steroidogenesis.

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Y Pomeraniec, N Grion, L Gadda, V Pannunzio, EJ Podesta, and CB Cymeryng

Heme oxygenase (HO) catalyzes the first and rate-controlling step of heme catabolism into biliverdin, iron and carbon monoxide. Three isoforms of HO have been identified so far: the inducible HO-1 and the constitutive HO-2 and HO-3. Both HO-1 and HO-2 were expressed in zona fasciculata (ZF) adrenal cells and in a mouse adrenocortical cell line (Y1). HO-1 but not HO-2 expression was upregulated by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and accumulation of HO-1 protein correlated with an increase in HO activity in Y1 cells. ACTH induced HO-1 expression in a time- and dose-dependent manner with a maximum after 5 h of treatment and a threshold concentration of 0.1 mIU/ml. Actinomycin D and cycloheximide completely blocked the effect of ACTH on HO-1 mRNA expression whereas mRNA stability was not affected by ACTH. Permeable analogs of cAMP mimicked the effect of ACTH on HO-1 expression and ACTH induction was prevented by the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor H89. Steroid production was significantly increased when both HO-1 and HO-2 activities were inhibited by Sn-protoporphyrin IX (SnPPIX). The lipid peroxidation and increase in carbonyl content triggered by hydrogen peroxide was prevented by treatment of Y1 cells with bilirubin and ACTH.