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Hypertension. 2005 Jan;45(1):21-7. Epub 2004 Nov 29.

S-nitrosoalbumin-mediated relaxation is enhanced by ascorbate and copper: effects in pregnancy and preeclampsia plasma.

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  • 1Magee-Womens Research Institute and Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Pittsburgh, 204 Craft Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


S-nitrosoalbumin (SNO-Alb) is a major reservoir of releasable nitric oxide (NO) in plasma. In preeclampsia, a pregnancy-specific disorder associated with endothelial dysfunction, we previously found significant elevations in plasma SNO-Alb concentrations and decreased plasma ascorbate (Asc) levels. This increased SNO-Alb may result from low-plasma Asc if Asc, along with transition metals (eg, copper [Cu]) are necessary for release of NO from S-nitrosothiols. We propose that vasodilator effects of SNO-Alb, mediated by release of NO, are fully realized only when Asc/Cu availability is sufficient. Relaxation responses to SNO-Alb or the control reduced human serum albumin (SH-Alb), and responses to pooled plasma from normal or preeclamptic pregnancies were examined in isolated mouse arteries. Arteries preconstricted with phenylephrine were exposed to SNO-Alb or SH-Alb at physiologically relevant concentrations. When free Cu was added in excess (10 mumol/L), NO release was not dependent on Asc. However, when Cu was added at lower (physiological) levels, NO release was dependent on Asc. The addition of Asc and Cu to SNO-Alb stimulated vasodilatory responses in isolated arteries >90%, whereas no change in the SH-Alb (5%) response was observed. Preeclampsia plasma with higher levels of SNO-Alb caused arteries to relax 44.1+/-4.7%, whereas normal pregnancy plasma caused 11.9+/-4.2% relaxation (P=0.007). These data indicate that SNO-Alb alone or in plasma can act as a potent vasodilator, and that sufficient Asc/Cu promotes this action. We suggest that the higher circulating levels of SNO-Alb, in women with preeclampsia, reflect a deficiency in Asc/Cu-mediated release of NO from SNO-Alb.

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