Peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)) is a highly reactive oxidant produced by the interaction of the free radicals superoxide (O*-2) and nitric oxide (NO(*)). In a previous study, we found that peroxynitrite is formed in islet beta-cells of nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice. Here, we report that guanidinoethyldisulphide (GED), a selective inhibitor of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and scavenger of peroxynitrite prevents diabetes in NOD mice. GED treatment of female NOD mice, starting at age 5 weeks, delayed diabetes onset (from age 12 to 22 weeks) and significantly decreased diabetes incidence at 30 weeks (from 80% to 17%). GED did not prevent pancreatic islet infiltration by leukocytes; however, beta-cells that stained positive for nitrotyrosine (a marker of peroxynitrite) were significantly decreased in islets of GED-treated mice (1+/-1%) compared with vehicle-treated mice (30+/-9%). In addition, GED significantly inhibited nitric oxide and nitrotyrosine formation and decreased destruction of beta-cells in NOD mouse islets incubated in vitro with the combination of proinflammatory cytokines interleukin 1-beta (IL-1beta), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). These findings indicate that both superoxide and nitric oxide radicals contribute to islet beta-cell destruction in autoimmune diabetes via peroxynitrite formation in the beta-cells.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.