Inducible nitric oxide synthase activity and expression in liver and hepatocytes of diabetic rats

Zecharia Madar*, Shiri Kalet-Litman, Aliza H. Stark

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is expressed by the liver in a number of physiological and pathophysiological conditions. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the diabetic state, iNOS and oxidative stress in the rat liver and isolated hepatocytes. Hepatic iNOS expression and activity was measured in both healthy and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats and determined in hepatocytes in the presence and absence of insulin. Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD) and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) were also measured. In a separate experiment lasting 3 weeks, diabetic rats received either no treatment, two daily injections of insulin or aminoguanidine in the drinking water. Diabetes led to increased activity (45%) and expression (70%) of liver iNOS, an effect that was attenuated by insulin treatment both in vitro and in whole animals. Hepatocyte iNOS expression increased by 56%. Hepatic SOD expression was elevated in the diabetic state, but activity levels were similar to healthy controls. Insulin treatment in vivo led to increased enzyme activity but expression was not modified. Levels of PI3K protein were significantly lower in diabetic rats while insulin treatment markedly increased expression. Aminoguanidine did not inhibit hepatic iNOS in this study. Glycemic control via insulin administration was able to downregulate enhanced hepatic iNOS activity and expression in the liver observed in the diabetic state and improve SOD activity, responses that can potentially reduce the free radical damage associated with diabetes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)106-112
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


  • Diabetes
  • Liver
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Superoxide dismutase


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