NO prevents atherogenesis and inflammation in vessel walls by inhibition of cell proliferation and cytokine-induced endothelial expression of adhesion molecules and proinflammatory cytokines. Reduced NO production due to inhibition of either eNOS or iNOS may therefore reinforce atherosclerosis. Patients with end-stage renal failure show markedly increased mortality due to atherosclerosis. In the present study we tested the hypothesis that uremic toxins are responsible for reduced iNOS expression. LPS-induced iNOS expression in mononuclear leukocytes was studied using real-time PCR. The iNOS expression was blocked by addition of plasma from patients with end-stage renal failure, whereas plasma from healthy controls had no effect. Hemofiltrate obtained from patients with end-stage renal failure was fractionated by chromatographic methods. The chromatographic procedures revealed a homogenous fraction that inhibits iNOS expression. Using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, this inhibitor was identified as phenylacetic acid. Authentic phenylacetic acid inhibited iNOS expression in a dose-dependent manner. In healthy control subjects, plasma concentrations were below the detection level, whereas patients with end-stage renal failure had a phenylacetic acid concentration of 3.49 ± 0.33 mmol/l (n = 41). It is concluded that accumulation of phenylacetic acid in patients with end-stage renal failure inhibits iNOS expression. That mechanism may contribute to increased atherosclerosis and cardiovascular morbidity in patients with end-stage renal failure.


J. Jankowski, M. van der Giet, V. Jankowski, S. Schmidt, M. Hemeier, B. Mahn, G. Giebing, M. Tölle, H. Luftmann, H. Schlüter, W. Zidek, M. Tepel


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