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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Nov 27;104(48):19144-9. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Dietary nitrite supplementation protects against myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Abstract

Nitrite has emerged as an endogenous signaling molecule with potential therapeutic implications for cardiovascular disease. Steady-state levels of nitrite are derived in part from dietary sources; therefore, we investigated the effects of dietary nitrite and nitrate supplementation and deficiency on NO homeostasis and on the severity of myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (MI/R) injury. Mice fed a standard diet with supplementation of nitrite (50 mg/liter) in their drinking water for 7 days exhibited significantly higher plasma levels of nitrite, exhibited significantly higher myocardial levels of nitrite, nitroso, and nitrosyl-heme, and displayed a 48% reduction in infarct size (Inf) after MI/R. Supplemental nitrate (1 g/liter) in the drinking water for 7 days also increased blood and tissue NO products and significantly reduced Inf. A time course of ischemia-reperfusion revealed that nitrite was consumed during the ischemic phase, with an increase in nitroso/nitrosyl products in the heart. Mice fed a diet deficient in nitrite and nitrate for 7 days exhibited significantly diminished plasma and heart levels of nitrite and NO metabolites and a 59% increase in Inf after MI/R. Supplementation of nitrite in the drinking water for 7 days reversed the effects of nitrite deficiency. These data demonstrate the significant influence of dietary nitrite and nitrate intake on the maintenance of steady-state tissue nitrite/nitroso levels and illustrate the consequences of nitrite deficiency on the pathophysiology of MI/R injury. Therefore, nitrite and nitrate may serve as essential nutrients for optimal cardiovascular health and may provide a treatment modality for cardiovascular disease.

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