Ouabain increases iNOS-dependent nitric oxide generation which contributes to the hypertrophic effect of the glycoside: possible role of peroxynitrite formation.
ABSTRACT In addition to inotropic effects, cardiac glycosides exert deleterious effects on the heart which limit their use for cardiac therapeutics. In this study, we determined the possible contribution of ouabain-induced iNOS stimulation to the resultant hypertrophic as well as cytotoxic effects of the glycoside on cultured adult rat ventricular myocytes. Myocytes were treated with ouabain (50 μM) for up to 24 h. Ouabain significantly increased gene and protein levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) which was associated with significantly increased release of NO from myocytes as well as increased total release of reactive oxygen species (ROS), superoxide anion (O(2) (-)), and increased peroxynitrite formation as assessed by protein tyrosine nitration. Administration of ouabain was also associated with increased levels of myocyte toxicity as determined by myocyte morphology, trypan blue staining and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) efflux. The nonspecific NOS inhibitor Nω-nitro-L: -arginine methyl ester and the more selective iNOS inhibitor 1400W both abrogated the increase in LDH release but had no significant effect on either morphology or trypan blue staining. Ouabain also significantly increased both myocyte surface area and expression of atrial natriuretic peptide indicating a hypertrophic response with both parameters being completely prevented by NOS inhibition. The effects of iNOS inhibitors were associated with diminished ouabain tyrosine nitration as well as abrogation of ouabain-induced p38 and ERK phosphorylation. Our study shows that ouabain is a potent inducer of NO formation, iNOS upregulation, and increased production of ROS. Inhibition of ouabain-dependent peroxynitrite formation may contribute to the antihypertrophic effect of iNOS inhibition possibly by preventing downstream MAPK activation.