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Free Radic Biol Med. 2001 Sep 15;31(6):790-8.

Increased formation of S-nitrothiols and nitrotyrosine in cirrhotic rats during endotoxemia.

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  • 1Centre for Hepatology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Royal Free Campus, University College London, London, UK.


Plasma S-nitrosothiols are believed to function as a circulating form of nitric oxide that affects both vascular function and platelet aggregation. However, the formation of circulating S-nitrosothiols in relation to acute and chronic disease is largely unknown. Plasma S-nitrosothiols were measured by chemiluminescence in rats with biliary cirrhosis or controls, and the effect of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on their formation was determined. Plasma S-nitrosothiols were increased in rats with cirrhosis (206 +/- 59 nM) compared to controls (51 +/- 6 nM, p <.001). Two hours following injection of LPS (0.5 mg/kg) plasma S-nitrosothiols increased to 108 +/- 23 nM in controls (p <.01) and to 1335 +/- 423 nM in cirrhotic rats (p <.001). The plasma clearance and half-life of S-nitrosoalbumin, the predominant circulating S-nitrosothiol, were similar in control and cirrhotic rats, confirming that the increased plasma concentrations were due to increased synthesis. Because reactive nitrogen species, such as peroxynitrite, may cause the formation of S-nitrosothiols in vivo, we determined the levels of nitrotyrosine by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry as an index for these nitrating and nitrosating radicals. Hepatic nitrotyrosine levels were increased at 7.0 +/- 1.2 ng/mg in cirrhotic rats compared to controls (2.0 +/- 0.2 ng/mg, p <.01). Hepatic nitrotyrosine levels increased by 2.3-fold and 1.5-fold in control and cirrhotic rats, respectively, at 2 h following injection of LPS (p <.01). Strong positive staining for nitrotyrosine was shown by immunohistochemistry in all the livers of the rats with cirrhosis. We conclude that there is increased formation of S-nitrosothiols and nitrotyrosine in biliary cirrhosis, and this is markedly upregulated during endotoxemia.

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