Purpose: Nitric oxide (NO) plays a critical role as both a cell signaling molecule and as a cytotoxic/cytostatic mediator. Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) present in macrophages and neutrophils produces NO in response to immune stimulation. We evaluated NO production in both bladder tissue and urine from patients with transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the bladder.
Materials and methods: Inducible NOS (iNOS) RNA and protein were evaluated in bladder tissue from patients with and without TCC. Human iNOS-RNA products were identified with the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Western blot analysis using a polyclonal antibody directed against iNOS recognized immunoreactive iNOS protein. Using the same iNOS antibody, the distribution of iNOS was examined in formalin-fixed, paraffin embedded samples of various grades of TCC. NOS activity was measured in the urine particulate fraction from patients with TCC and from controls by the conversion of [14C]-L-arginine to [14C]-L-citrulline.
Results: Inducible NOS-RNA products and iNOS specific proteins were found in bladder tissue that contained TCC but not in control bladder tissue. Inducible NOS was uniformly localized in inflammatory cells within the carcinomas. Scattered tumor cells expressed iNOS in 8 of 12 specimens. There was no clear relationship between tumor immunoreactivity and tumor grade. NOS activity in urine from patients with TCC was not significantly elevated or decreased in comparison with control urine.
Conclusions: Inducible NOS is expressed by cells comprising and surrounding human bladder tumors. It is primarily localized to inflammatory cells, but also is demonstrated within individual tumor cells.