Homocysteine attenuates endothelial haem oxygenase-1 induction by nitric oxide (NO) and hypoxia

P Sawle, R Foresti, C J Green, R Motterlini

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The disrupted metabolism of homocysteine (Hcy) causes hyperhomocysteinemia, a condition associated with the impairment of nitric oxide (NO) bio-availability, tissue hypoxia and increased risk of vascular disease. Here, we examined how Hcy modulates the induction of the stress protein haem oxygenase-1 (HO-1) evoked by NO releasing agents and hypoxia in vascular endothelial cells. We found that Hcy (0.5 mM) markedly reduced the increase in haem oxygenase activity and HO-1 protein expression induced by sodium nitroprusside (SNP, 0.5 mM) but did not affect HO-1 activation mediated by S-nitroso-N-acetyl-penicillamine. Cells pre-treated with Hcy followed by addition of fresh medium containing SNP still exhibited an augmented haem oxygenase activity. Interestingly, high levels of Hcy were also able to abolish hypoxia-mediated HO-1 expression in a concentration-dependent manner. These novel findings indicate that hyperhomocysteinemia interferes with crucial signaling pathways required by cells to respond and adapt to stressful conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-6
Number of pages4
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2001


  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culture Media
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endothelium, Vascular
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing)
  • Homocysteine
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Donors
  • Nitroprusside
  • S-Nitroso-N-Acetylpenicillamine
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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