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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.

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N Grion, E M Repetto, Y Pomeraniec, C Martinez Calejman, F Astort, R Sanchez, O P Pignataro, P Arias, and C B Cymeryng

The present study was designed to investigate the effect of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on the expression levels and activities of the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and heme oxygenase (HO) systems in the rat adrenal gland. Both enzymatic activities were significantly increased in this tissue after in vivo treatment with LPS. The concurrent induction of the HO-1, NOS-1, and NOS-2 gene products was also detected as both mRNAs and protein levels were augmented by this treatment in a time-dependent way. A significant interaction between both signaling systems was also demonstrated as in vivo blockage of NOS activity with N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) resulted in a significant reduction in HO expression and activity levels, while an increase in NOS activity was observed when HO was inhibited by Sn-protoporphyrin IX (Sn-PPIX). As both NOS and HO activities have been previously involved in the modulation of adrenal steroidogenesis, we investigated the participation of these signaling systems in the adrenal response to LPS. Our results showed that acute stimulation of steroid production by ACTH was significantly increased when either NOS or HO activities were inhibited. We conclude that adrenal NOS and HO can be induced by a non-lethal dose of endotoxin supporting a modulatory role for these activities in the adrenal response to immune challenges.