Effects of Lycopene, Indole-3-Carbinol, and Luteolin on Nitric Oxide Production and iNOS Expression are Organ-Specific in Rats

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Effects of Lycopene, Indole-3-Carbinol, and Luteolin on Nitric Oxide Production and iNOS Expression are Organ-Specific in Rats

Natural compounds are known to modify NO content in tissues; however, the biological activity of polyphenol-rich food often does not correspond to the effects of individual polyphenols on NO synthase activity. The aim of this study was to see how natural compounds luteolin, indole-3-carbinol, and lycopene modify NO production in rat tissues and change the expression of the iNOS gene and protein. Indole-3-carbinol produced multiple effects on the NO level; it significantly decreased NO concentration in blood, lungs, and skeletal muscles and increased it in the liver. Indole-3-carbinol enhanced lipopolyssaccharide (LPS)-induced NO production in all rat organs. It decreased iNOS gene expression in the brain cortex of animals that did not receive LPS and up-regulated it in the LPS-treated animals. Lycopene increased the iNOS gene transcription rate in the brain cortex of LPS-treated animals. Luteolin did not modify NO production in any organ of LPS-untreated rats, nor did it affect gene expression in the liver. In the brain it slightly decreased iNOS gene expression. Luteolin decreased NO production in the blood of LPS-treated animals and the number of iNOS-positive cells in these animals. Our results suggest that changes in tissue NO levels caused by natural compounds cannot be predicted from their effect on NOS expression or activity obtained in model systems. This stresses the importance of direct measurements of NO and NOS expression in animal tissues.

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