Send to

Choose Destination
Chem Res Toxicol. 1992 Nov-Dec;5(6):834-42.

Peroxynitrite, a cloaked oxidant formed by nitric oxide and superoxide.

Author information

Department of Chemistry, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge 70803.


Peroxynitrite [oxoperoxonitrate(1-), ONOO-] may be formed in vivo from superoxide and nitric oxide. The anion is stable, but the acid (pKa = 6.8) decays to nitrate with a rate of 1.3 s-1 at 25 degrees C. The experimental activation parameters of this process are delta H++ = +18 +/- 1 kcal/mol, delta S++ = +3 +/- 2 cal/(mol.K), and delta G++ = +17 +/- 1 kcal/mol. Peroxynitrite (or its protonated form) oxidizes some compounds such as thiols and thioethers in a biomolecular reaction. The reactions with glutathione and cysteine have activation enthalpies of 10.9 and 9.7 kcal/mol, respectively, which are lower than that of the isomerization reaction. Peroxynitrite reacts with other compounds such as dimethyl sulfoxide and deoxyribose in a unimolecular reaction for which the activation of peroxynitrite is rate-limiting. In theory, activation could involve (1) heterolysis to OH- and NO2+ (delta rxn Gzero' = 13 kcal/mol at pH 7) or (2) homolysis to .OH and .NO2 (delta rxn Gzero = 21 kcal/mol), and these processes also could be involved in the isomerization to nitrate. However, thermodynamic and kinetic considerations indicate that neither process is feasible, although binding to metal ions may reduce the large activation energy associated with heterolysis. An intermediate closely related to the transition state for isomerization of ONOOH to HONO2 may be the strongly oxidizing intermediate responsible for hydroxyl radical-like oxidations mediated by ONOOH. Thus, peroxynitrite reacts with different compounds by at least two distinct mechanisms, and the hydroxyl radical is not involved in either.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center