Na+K+-ATPase is an important enzyme serving vital functions in various mammalian tissues, including the intestine. We have previously documented that endotoxin (LPS) and nitric oxide (NO) can induce enterocyte injury in vitro. To examine whether alterations Na+,K+-ATPase activity might be involved in LPS- or NO-induced enterocyte dysfunction, we carried out four series of experiments. The first set of experiments documented that LPS decreases IEC-6 Na+,K+-ATPase activity at concentrations as low as 0.10 microg/ml. The second set of experiments tested whether exposure of IEC-6 cells to the exogenous NO donor, S-Nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP), would decrease IEC-6 Na+,K+-ATPase activity. The results of these experiments documented that SNAP significantly decreased IEC-6 Na+,K+-ATPase activity in a dose-dependent fashion at a threshold inhibitory concentration of 0.1 mM, and there was an inverse correlation between Na+,K+-ATPase activity and NO concentrations in the medium. Since enterocytes contain iNOS, and LPS can increase iNOS activity, the third set of experiments examined the relationship between LPS-induced inhibition of Na+),K+-ATPase activity and NO production by the IEC-6 cells. These results showed that LPS increased IEC-6 NO production in both a dose- and time-dependent fashion and an inverse correlation existed between LPS-induced NO production and decreased Na+,K+-ATPase activity. Addition of the NOS inhibitor, L-NNA, prevented the LPS-induced decrease in Na+,K+ATPase activity, suggesting that NO is involved in the decrease of Na+,K+-ATPase activity observed in the IEC-6 cells incubated with LPS. One mechanism by which the increased NO concentrations could have contributed to the decrease in Na+,K+ATPase activity, after the addition of LPS or SNAP, is via the production of peroxynitrite during the reaction of NO with superoxide. This notion was supported by studies showing that SNAP- and LPS-induced decreases in IEC-6 Na+,K+-ATPase activity could be blocked by adding superoxide dismutase to the medium. The last set of experiments tested whether the inhibition of Na+,K+-ATPase activity with the specific Na+,K+-ATPase inhibitor ouabain would increase the permeability of an IEC-6 monolayer. IEC-6 monolayer permeability was increased by ouabain, but only at a high concentration. In conclusion, these studies indicate that LPS or the NO donor, SNAP, inhibit Na+,K+-ATPase activity and this inhibition is at least partly related to peroxynitrite production. These studies also suggest that LPS-induced NO production by the IEC-6 cells decreases IEC-6 Na+,K+-ATPase activity in an autocrine fashion.
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