BACKGROUND--Although nitric oxide (NO) has been found to have a role in gut inflammation and to modulate immunoglobulin production, little is known about its part in food hypersensitivities. AIM--This study aimed to evaluate the role of NO through the inhibition of constitutive and inducible NO synthase (cNOS and iNOS respectively) on the sensitisation process (antibody titres) and on intestinal anaphylactic responses (colonic hypersecretion upon antigen challenge). ANIMALS AND METHODS--Guinea pigs sensitised to cow's milk proteins were treated either during the sensitisation period or before antigen challenge by N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) (inhibiting both cNOS and iNOS) or amino-guanidine (selective iNOS inhibitor). RESULTS--Chronic treatment by L-NAME or aminoguanidine reduced antibody titres and the secretory response to antigen challenge. In contrast, only L-NAME administered before challenge was able to antagonise the hypersecretion induced by the challenge. CONCLUSIONS--NO generated by iNOS has a role in the sensitisation process: iNOS inhibition results in lower rates of antibodies leading to a reduced secretory response upon challenge. In contrast, blockade of colonic hypersecretion by L-NAME but not by aminoguanidine suggests that NO via cNOS is a key mediator in intestinal anaphylactic reactions.
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