Nitric oxide modifies chromatin to suppress ICAM-1 expression during colonic inflammation

Qingjie Li, Sushil K. Sarna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide (NO) is an established inflammatory mediator. However, it remains controversial whether NO enhances the inflammatory response in the colon or suppresses it. We investigated the epigenetic regulation of Icam-1 expression by NO following induction of colonic inflammation in rats by 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic (TNBS) acid and obtaining colonic muscularis externae tissues 24 h later. TNBS inflammation induced intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) expression by translocating NF-κB to the nucleus. The incubation of inflamed tissues with S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) did not affect the nuclear translocation of NF-κB; however, it suppressed the NF-κB binding to DNA. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis (ChIP)-qPCR assays showed that the increase in NF-κB/DNA interaction following inflammation is due to the transcriptional downregulation of global HDAC3 and a decrease in its interaction with the DNA on the Icam-1 promoter containing the binding motifs of NF-κB. The decrease in the association of histone deacetylase (HDAC) 3 with the Icam-1 promoter increased the acetylation of histone 4 lysine residue 12 (H4K12), which would favor chromatin relaxation and greater access of NF-κB to its DNA binding sites. HDAC3 dissociation from the DNA did not affect the acetylation levels of H4K8 and H4K16. The NO release by GSNO countered the upregulation of Icam-1 by increasing the transcription of global HDAC3 and its association with the Icam-1 promoter, and by suppressing H4K12 acetylation. We conclude that chromatin modification by transcriptional downregulation of HDAC3 plays a critical role in the induction of the inflammatory response. NO may serve as an anti-inflammatory mediator during the acute stage of inflammation by blunting the downregulation of global HDAC3, increasing HDAC3 interaction with the nucleosomes containing the binding moieties of NF-κB, reducing H4K12Ac to restrict the access of NF-κB to DNA, and suppressing ICAM-1 expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G103-G110
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


  • Inflammation
  • Intercellular adhesion molecule-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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