Induction of Nitric-Oxide Metabolism in Enterocytes Alleviates Colitis and Inflammation-Associated Colon Cancer

Cell Rep. 2018 May 15;23(7):1962-1976. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.04.053.


Nitric oxide (NO) plays an established role in numerous physiological and pathological processes, but the specific cellular sources of NO in disease pathogenesis remain unclear, preventing the implementation of NO-related therapy. Argininosuccinate lyase (ASL) is the only enzyme able to produce arginine, the substrate for NO generation by nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isoforms. Here, we generated cell-specific conditional ASL knockout mice in combination with genetic and chemical colitis models. We demonstrate that NO derived from enterocytes alleviates colitis by decreasing macrophage infiltration and tissue damage, whereas immune cell-derived NO is associated with macrophage activation, resulting in increased severity of inflammation. We find that induction of endogenous NO production by enterocytes with supplements that upregulate ASL expression and complement its substrates results in improved epithelial integrity and alleviation of colitis and of inflammation-associated colon cancer.

Keywords: IBD; inflammation-associated colon cancer; neutraceutical supplements; nitric oxide metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arginine / biosynthesis
  • Argininosuccinate Lyase / metabolism
  • Colitis / metabolism*
  • Colitis / pathology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Enterocytes / metabolism*
  • Enterocytes / pathology*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Arginine
  • Argininosuccinate Lyase