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Neutrophil-mediated nitrosamine formation: Role of nitric oxide in rats

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Abstract It is well known that chronic inflammation of the colon and rectum is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer, but the mechanisms by which inflammation promotes neoplasia remain undefined. The authors propose that inflammatory neutrophils may produce carcinogenic nitrosamines via the l-arginine-dependent formation of nitrogen oxides such as nitric oxide. Therefore, the objectives of the study were to characterize the l-arginine-dependent formation of nitrogen oxides by inflammatory (elicited) neutrophils using conditions that more closely mimic the extravascular (i.e., interstitial) compartment of the gut and to characterize the neutrophil-dependent N-nitrosation of a model amine to yield its nitrosamine derivative. In the absence of any metabolic activation, adherent, inflammatory neutrophils (2 × 10 6 cells) produced 12.8 ± 1.4 μmol/L of nitrite during a 4-hour incubation period. Omission of l-arginine and/or inhibition of nitric oxide synthase by the addition of 1 mmol/L N G-nitro- l-arginine methyl ester ( l-NAME) resulted in 35%–78% inhibition of nitrite production, suggesting that nitrite was derived from nitric oxide. By comparison, neither circulating rat neutrophils nor elicited rat macrophages produced significant amounts of nitrite under the same conditions. Furthermore, elicited neutrophils (2 × 10 6 cells) were capable of N-nitrosating 2,3-diaminonapthalene to yield its nitrosamine derivative 1-naptho-2,3-triazole (282 ± 12 nmol/L) in a time- and cell-dependent pattern similar to that of nitrite production. Addition of a variety of antioxidants (e.g., ascorbic acid, reduced glutathione, α-tocopherol analog), 5-aminosalicylic acid, or l-NAME resulted in 80%–85% inhibition of neutrophil-mediated nitrosamine formation. Taken together, these data suggest that inflammatory neutrophils may represent an important metabolic source of endogenous carcinogens during times of active intestinal inflammation.

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