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Oleuropein, the bitter principle of olives, enhances nitric oxide production by mouse macrophages

Author

Visioli F

Date

1998

Journal

Life Sci

Abstract

The Mediterranean diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, has been associated with a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and cancer, partly because of its high proportion of bioactive compounds such as vitamins, flavonoids and polyphenols. The major lipid component of such diet is the drupe-derived olive oil, that can be distinguished from other seed oils for the peculiar composition of its non-triglyceride fraction. In fact, several minor components, including polyphenols, grant the oil its particular taste and aroma. Oleuropein, the most abundant among these components, has been shown to be a potent antioxidant endowed with antiinflammatory properties. We investigated the effects of oleuropein on NO release in cell culture and its activity toward nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression. The results show that oleuropein dose-dependently enhance nitrite production in LPS-challenged mouse macrophages. This effect was blocked by the iNOS inhibitor L-NAME, indicating increased iNOS activity. Also, Western blot analysis of cell homogenates show that oleuropein increases iNOS expression in such cells. Taken together, our data suggest that, during endotoxin challenge, oleuropein potentiates the macrophage-mediated response, resulting in higher NO production, currently believed to be beneficial for cellular and organismal protection.

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