INOS and nitrotyrosine expression after spinal cord injury

Jan Xu, Gyeong Moon Kim, Shawei Chen, Ping Yan, S. Hinan Ahmed, Grace Ku, Joseph S. Beckman, Xiao Ming Xu, Chung Y. Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Secondary tissue damage after spinal cord injury (SCI) may be due to inflammatory mediators. After SCI, the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) transcription factor can activate many pro-inflammatory genes, one of which is inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). iNOS catalyzes the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO), a key inflammatory mediator, which in turn reacts with superoxide to generate peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite is a strong oxidant that can damage cellular enzymes, membranes, and subcellular organelles through the nitration of tyrosine residues on proteins. The presence of nitrotyrosine (NT) is an indirect chemical indicator of toxic NO and peroxynitrite-induced cellular damage. Using a New York University (NYU) impactor to induce SCI in adult rats, we examined the temporal and cellular expression of iNOS and NT. We observed a progressive increase in iNOS expression in the injured cord starting at day 1 with maximal expression occurring at day 7, as determined by Western blot analysis, iNOS expression corresponded temporally to an increase in iNOS enzyme activity after SCI. In parallel with the progressive increase in iNOS activity, NT expression also increased with time after SCI. The iNOS and NT immunoreactivity was localized in neurons, astrocytes, endothelial cells and ependymal cells at the epicenter and adjacent to the region of spinal cord impact and injury. Results from the present study suggest that increased iNOS and peroxynitrite anion, as reflected by the progressive accumulation of NT in the injured impacted spinal cord, may contribute to the secondary injury process after SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-532
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxygen free radicals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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