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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Tetrahydrobiopterin is required for cytokine-induced nitric oxide production in a murine macrophage cell line (RAW 264).

The murine macrophage cell line RAW 264 constitutively synthesizes tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), the cofactor required for the hydroxylation of the aromatic amino acids and for the production of nitric oxide. Stimulation of the cells with interferon-gamma and lipopolysaccharide induced the production of nitric oxide and increased BH4 levels further. When the cells were stimulated in the presence of 2,4-diamino-6-hydroxypyrimidine (DAHP), an inhibitor of BH4 biosynthesis, biopterin levels decreased by 90% within 6 hr, whereas nitrite production was essentially unaffected. Pretreatment of the cells for 12 hr with DAHP decreased intracellular BH4 concentrations by > 95% yet inhibited the cytokine-stimulated production of nitric oxide by only 50%. However, pretreatment with DAHP plus N-acetylserotonin, an inhibitor of sepiapterin reductase, the terminal enzyme of the BH4 biosynthetic pathway, decreased biopterin levels by > 99% and inhibited nitric oxide synthesis by 90%. This inhibition could be reversed by loading the cells with dihydrobiopterin, a precursor of BH4 via the dihydrofolate reductase salvage pathway. In addition, these studies revealed that N-acetylserotonin has a direct inhibitory effect on nitric oxide synthesis, acting in a BH4-independent manner. The results presented here support previous suggestions, based on experiments with isolated enzymes, that BH4 is absolutely required for cytokine-stimulated nitric oxide production in macrophages and they suggest that only a small fraction of the total intracellular BH4 pool in macrophages is utilized in the production of fully active nitric oxide synthase.[1]


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