Background & aims: Nitric oxide (NO)-releasing derivatives of cyclooxygenase inhibitors exhibit enhanced anti-inflammatory activity and greatly reduced gastrointestinal toxicity. We evaluated whether a similar derivatization of mesalamine (5-aminosalicylic acid) would improve its anti-inflammatory activity.
Methods: Effects of an NO-releasing derivative of mesalamine (NCX-456; NO-mesalamine) were compared with those of mesalamine itself and 2 other NO donors in a rat model of colitis. These drugs were compared for their ability to inhibit leukocyte adherence to the vascular endothelium in vivo, interleukin (IL)-1beta and interferon (IFN)-gamma release in vitro (splenocytes and colon), and messenger RNA expression in the inflamed colon.
Results: NO-mesalamine was significantly more effective than mesalamine in reducing the severity of colitis (damage and granulocyte infiltration). Unlike mesalamine, NO-mesalamine significantly suppressed leukocyte adherence to the vascular endothelium in vivo. NO-mesalamine inhibited IL-1beta and IFN-gamma release and caspase 1 activity in splenocytes; such effects were not found in the inflamed colon.
Conclusions: These studies show that an NO-releasing derivative of mesalamine has significantly enhanced anti-inflammatory activity, including improved efficacy in a rat model of colitis. The improved efficacy of this derivative is most likely caused by its enhanced ability to suppress leukocyte infiltration and possibly to scavenge peroxynitrite.