Obligatory role of inducible nitric oxide synthase in ischemic preconditioning

Sunghee Cho, Eun Mi Park, Ping Zhou, Kelly Frys, M. Elizabeth Ross, Costantino Iadecola

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106 Scopus citations


Sublethal insults can induce a transient tolerance toward subsequent lethal ischemia, a phenomenon termed ischemic preconditioning (IPC). In the myocardium, nitric oxide derived from 'inducible' nitric oxide synthase (iNOS or NOS II) plays a critical role in the expression of IPC produced by sublethal ischemia. Here, we investigated whether iNOS is involved in IPC in brain. Ischemic preconditioning was produced in mice by three episodes of 1-min bilateral common carotid artery (BCCA) occlusion, each followed by 5 mins of reperfusion. After 24 h, mice underwent middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion for 20 mins. Intraischemic cerebral blood flow was monitored during both in BCCA and MCA occlusion (MCAO) by laser-Doppler flowmetry. Mice were killed 3 days after MCAO, and infarct volume was determined in thionine-stained sections. Infarct volume was significantly reduced 24 h after IPC (70%; P<0.05). Treatment with the iNOS inhibitor aminoguanidine (400 mg/kg), abolished the IPC-induced protection. Furthermore, IPC failed to induce ischemic tolerance in iNOS-null mice. In wild-type mice, IPC increased the resistance to Ca 2+-mediated depolarization in isolated brain mitochondria. However, in iNOS-null mice IPC failed to induce such resistance. We conclude that iNOS is required for the full expression of IPC and that such effect is coupled to an increased resistance of mitochondria to injury. Thus, iNOS-derived nitric oxide, in addition to its deleterious effects on the late stages of ischemic brain damage, can also be beneficial by promoting ischemic tolerance through signaling, ultimately resulting in mitochondrial protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-501
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Aminoguanidine
  • Ischemic preconditioning
  • Mitochondria
  • iNOS-null mice


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