UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Role of Nitric Oxide in Regulating Intestinal Redox Status and Intestinal Epithelial Cell Functionality Mu, Kaiwen; Yu, Shengwu; Kitts, David D.


Important functions of intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) include enabling nutrient absorption to occur passively and acting as a defense barrier against potential xenobiotic components and pathogens. A compromise to IEC function can result in the translocation of bacteria, toxins, and allergens that lead to the onset of disease. Thus, the maintenance and optimal function of IECs are critically important to ensure health. Endogenous biosynthesis of nitric oxide (NO) regulates IEC functionality both directly, through free radical activity, and indirectly through cell signaling mechanisms that impact tight junction protein expression. In this paper, we review the current knowledge on factors that regulate inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and the subsequent roles that NO has on maintaining IECs’ intestinal epithelial barrier structure, functions, and associated mechanisms of action. We also summarize important findings on the effects of bioactive dietary food components that interact with NO production and affect downstream intestinal epithelium integrity.

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