Impaired nitric oxide production in coronary endothelial cells of the spontaneously diabetic BB rat is due to tetrahydrobiopterin deficiency. Academic Article uri icon


  • Endothelial cells (EC) from diabetic BioBreeding (BB) rats have an impaired ability to produce NO. This deficiency is not due to a defect in the constitutive isoform of NO synthase in EC (ecNOS) or alterations in intracellular calcium, calmodulin, NADPH or arginine levels. Instead, ecNOS cannot produce sufficient NO because of a deficiency in tetrahydrobiopterin (BH(4)), a cofactor necessary for enzyme activity. EC from diabetic rats exhibited only 12% of the BH(4) levels found in EC from normal animals or diabetes-prone animals which did not develop disease. As a result, NO synthesis by EC of diabetic rats was only 18% of that for normal animals. Increasing BH(4) levels with sepiapterin increased NO production, suggesting that BH(4) deficiency is a metabolic basis for impaired endothelial NO synthesis in diabetic BB rats. This deficiency is due to decreased activity of GTP-cyclohydrolase I, the first and rate-limiting enzyme in the de novo biosynthesis of BH(4). GTP-cyclohydrolase activity was low because of a decreased expression of the protein in the diabetic cells.

published proceedings

  • Biochem J

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Meininger, C. J., Marinos, R. S., Hatakeyama, K., Martinez-Zaguilan, R., Rojas, J. D., Kelly, K. A., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 105

complete list of authors

  • Meininger, CJ||Marinos, RS||Hatakeyama, K||Martinez-Zaguilan, R||Rojas, JD||Kelly, KA||Wu, G

publication date

  • July 2000