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J Biol Chem. 1994 Oct 28;269(43):26669-76.

Potent and selective inhibition of human nitric oxide synthases. Inhibition by non-amino acid isothioureas.

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  • 1Wellcome Research Laboratories, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709.


S-Ethylisothiourea was a potent competitive inhibitor of human nitric oxide synthase (NOS), with Ki values of 17, 36, and 29 nM for the inducible (i), endothelial (e), and neuronal (n) isozymes, respectively. Unlike some potent inhibitors of NOS, no time dependence was observed. S-Ethylisothiourea was not a detectable substrate for eNOS. S-Ethylisothiourea was also a potent inhibitor of mouse iNOS (Ki value of 5.2 nM), and its binding perturbed the spectrum of iNOS consistent with its altering the environment of the bound heme. The optimum binding of S-ethyl- and S-isopropylisothiourea relative to 70 other analogs suggested that these alkyl substitutions fit into a small hydrophobic pocket. Most isothioureas were 2-6-fold selective for the human iNOS (Ki for iNOS versus Ki for eNOS), with one being 19-fold selective. The cyclized mimics of S-ethylisothiourea, 2-NH2-thiazoline, and 2-NH2-thiazole, were also competitive inhibitors of human NOS. A third structural class of inhibitors, bisisothioureas, were, in general, the most selective in their inhibition of human iNOS. S,S'-(1,3-Phenylenebis(1,2-ethanediyl))bisisothiourea was 190-fold selective (Ki value of 0.047 microM against iNOS versus 9.0 microM against eNOS). These results demonstrate that potent and selective inhibition of human NOS isozymes is achievable.

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