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FEBS Lett. 1998 May 8;427(2):225-8.

Xanthine oxidoreductase catalyses the reduction of nitrates and nitrite to nitric oxide under hypoxic conditions.

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  • 1Department of Postgraduate Medicine, University of Bath, Claverton Down, UK.


Xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) catalyses the reduction of the therapeutic organic nitrate, nitroglycerin (glyceryl trinitrate, GTN), as well as inorganic nitrate and nitrite, to nitric oxide (NO) under hypoxic conditions in the presence of NADH. Generation of nitric oxide is not detectable under normoxic conditions and is inhibited by the molybdenum site-specific inhibitors, oxypurinol and (-)BOF 4272. These enzymic reactions provide a mechanism for generation of NO under hypoxic conditions where nitric oxide synthase does not function, suggesting a vasodilatory role in ischaemia.

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