Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biochem Pharmacol. 1992 Sep 25;44(6):1149-57.

Thiol-mediated generation of nitric oxide accounts for the vasodilator action of furoxans.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Pharmacology, Heinrich-Heine-University, Düsseldorf, Federal Republic of Germany.


Furoxans (1,2,5-oxadiazole-2-oxides) are widely used in organic chemistry as intermediate compounds for the synthesis of various heterocycles. Despite the fact that some furoxans have been found to possess remarkable biological activities, up to now no systematic study on their mode of action has been reported. The aim of the present study was to investigate the molecular mode of the vasodilator action of furoxans. Furoxans, but not the corresponding furazans, concentration-dependently increased coronary flow in an isolated working rat heart preparation. This effect was blunted upon coinfusion with methylene blue. All tested furoxans were demonstrated to increase potently the activity of soluble guanylate cyclase. Enzyme stimulation was found to be mediated by the generation of nitric oxide (NO) following chemical reaction of the furoxans with sulfhydryl groups of low molecular weight thiols and proteins. Furoxans are thus prodrugs which increase the level of cyclic GMP via formation of NO and may therefore be classified as nitrovasodilators. Along with the generation of NO, nitrite and nitrate ions and S-nitrosothiols were formed. The rates of formation of these metabolites, however, did not appear to be related to enzyme stimulation. A tentative reaction scheme that fits the obtained experimental data is proposed. Recently reported cytotoxic, mutagenic, immunosuppressive and anticancer effects of furoxans are discussed in the light of their ability to release NO upon reaction with thiols.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center