Role of iNOS in hepatocyte tight junction alteration in mouse model of experimental colitis.

E. Mazzon, S. Cuzzocrea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A variety of hepatobiliary abnormalities occur in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). The role of tight junction (TJ) in hepatobiliary complications have been well described. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of inducible nitric oxide (NOS) in alteration of hepatocyte TJ paracellular barrier and in the rapid transcytotic vesicular pathway modification associated with intestinal inflammation. To address this question, we used an experimental model of colitis, induced by dinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (DNBS). When compared to DNBS-treated iNOS wild-type (WT) mice, DNBS-treated iNOS knock out mice (iNOSKO) mice experienced a significant less rate of the extent and severity of the histological signs of colon injury. Colon levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumour necrosis factor, interleukin-1beta and interleukin-6 were also significantly reduced in iNOS-KO mice in comparison to wild-type mice. Liver histology from iNOSKO and wild-type mice iNOSWT did not show any parenchymal and portal tract inflammation at 4 days after DNBS administration. Serum total bilirubin and alanine aminotransferase, were significantly reduced in DNBS-iNOSKO mice vs DNBS-iNOSKO mice. Therefore, we found an increase of tight junctional permeability to lanthanum nitrate (molecular weight, 433) in the livers from DNBS-treated IL-10WT mice, lanthanum accumulated throughout the junctional area up to the most apical region bordering the lumen. Absence of a functional iNOS gene in iNOSKO mice resulted in a significant reduction of apical diffusion of lanthanum after DNBS-induced colitis. Immunofluorescent labeling of frozen liver sections from DNBS-iNOSWT mice showed a significant alteration of the immunolocalization for claudin-1 and zonula occludens (ZO)-1. In contrast, a significant reduced alteration in the localization of the immunosignals for claudin-1 and ZO-1 was observed in the liver from iNOSKO mice after DNBS administration. In conclusion, we suggest that the iNOS may represent an important pathophysiological mechanism of hepatobiliary injuries and cholestasis observed in patients with IBD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalCellular and Molecular Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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