Glucocorticoids inhibit the induction of nitric oxide synthase II by down-regulating cytokine-induced activity of transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B.Mol Pharmacol 1996; 49(1):15-21MP
Incubation of human A549/8 cells with human interleukin-1 beta (50 units/ml), interferon-gamma (100 units/ml), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (10 ng/ml) (cytomix) resulted in a marked expression of the mRNA of the inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS II). This induction was prevented by cycloheximide. Dexamethasone markedly reduced cytokine-induced NOS II mRNA concentrations; this reduction was prevented by RU 38486 (mifepristone). Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate, an inhibitor of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B) activation, also significantly decreased cytomix-induced NOS II mRNA levels. When A549/8 cells were transfected with a construct containing 1570-bp 5'-flanking sequence of the murine NOS II gene cloned before a reporter gene, the murine NOS II promoter was induced up to 20-fold with cytomix but not with bacterial lipopolysaccharide. Dexamethasone as well as pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate inhibited this induction. In electrophoretic mobility shift assays, nuclear protein extracts from cytomix-induced, but not from unstimulated cells, significantly slowed the migration of an oligonucleotide containing the NF-kappa B-binding site. This band shift was markedly reduced by dexamethasone. On the other hand, cytomix-induced nuclear protein content of NF-kappa B p65 and NF-kappa B p50 was not reduced by dexamethasone (as analyzed by Western blot). Dexamethasone also did not reduce cytomix-induced expression of NF-kappa B p65 mRNA or enhance the expression of NF-kappa B inhibitor mRNA. The human and murine NOS II promoters also contain consensus sequences for activating protein-1 (AP-1) binding. However, AP-1 binding activity of nuclear extracts of A549/8 cells was not enhanced by cytomix or inhibited by dexamethasone. These data suggest that the activated glucocorticoid receptor prevents (by a protein/protein interaction) the binding of transcription factor NF-kappa B, but not AP-1, to the NOS II promoter, thereby inhibiting the induction of NOS II transcription.