Changes in gut mucosal nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity after thermal injury and its relation with barrier failure

Shock. 1999 Feb;11(2):104-10. doi: 10.1097/00024382-199902000-00006.


This study was designed to investigate changes in mucosal NOS activity after burns and its relation to barrier failure. In Experiment 1, female specific pathogen free (SPF) Sprague-Dawley rats underwent 35% total body surface area (TBSA) burn. One to six days after burn, intestinal permeability was determined from the plasma leakage of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-dextran 4400, intestinal mucosal cNOS and iNOS activity were assayed using Griess' reagent, and the cellular localization of iNOS was examined using immunostaining. In Experiment 2, S-methylisothiourea (SMT) was given (5 mg/kg, i.p. every 12 h) for 2 days to suppress inducible NOS (iNOS) activity after thermal injury. On postburn Day 2, the effect of SMT on gut mucosal NOS activity, intestinal permeability, and barrier function were evaluated. The activity of iNOS increased 24 h after the injury and up to a maximum of twofold on postburn Day 2, and decreased thereafter. The increase in iNOS activity in gut mucosa correlated well with the increase in intestinal permeability, an index for barrier failure (r = .776, p = .0002). Results from iNOS immunostaining showed that changes in mucosal iNOS activity after the burn occurred mainly in the enterocytes rather than in the macrophages. Administration of SMT decreased mucosal iNOS activity, intestinal permeability, and bacterial translocation incidence to mesenteric lymph node concurrently. In conclusion, thermal injury induces intestinal mucosal iNOS, which is principally in the enterocytes. The increased intestinal iNOS activity was closely related to barrier failure. SMT inhibited intestinal mucosal iNOS activity and prevented barrier failure as demonstrated by a decrease in BT occurrence and intestinal permeability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Translocation / drug effects
  • Burns / drug therapy
  • Burns / enzymology*
  • Burns / pathology
  • Digestive System / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / enzymology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Isothiuronium / analogs & derivatives
  • Isothiuronium / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • Permeability
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Isothiuronium
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • S-methylisothiopseudouronium