Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2007 Jun;292(6):H3072-8. Epub 2007 Feb 16.

Nitrite-dependent vasodilation is facilitated by hypoxia and is independent of known NO-generating nitrite reductase activities.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.


The reduction of circulating nitrite to nitric oxide (NO) has emerged as an important physiological reaction aimed to increase vasodilation during tissue hypoxia. Although hemoglobin, xanthine oxidase, endothelial NO synthase, and the bc(1) complex of the mitochondria are known to reduce nitrite anaerobically in vitro, their relative contribution to the hypoxic vasodilatory response has remained unsolved. Using a wire myograph, we have investigated how the nitrite-dependent vasodilation in rat aortic rings is controlled by oxygen tension, norepinephrine concentration, soluble guanylate cyclase (the target for vasoactive NO), and known nitrite reductase activities under hypoxia. Vasodilation followed overall first-order dependency on nitrite concentration and, at low oxygenation and norepinephrine levels, was induced by low-nitrite concentrations, comparable to those found in vivo. The vasoactive effect of nitrite during hypoxia was abolished on inhibition of soluble guanylate cyclase and was unaffected by removal of the endothelium or by inhibition of xanthine oxidase and of the mitochondrial bc(1) complex. In the presence of hemoglobin and inositol hexaphosphate (which increases the fraction of deoxygenated heme), the effect of nitrite was not different from that observed with inositol hexaphosphate alone, indicating that under the conditions investigated here deoxygenated hemoglobin did not enhance nitrite vasoactivity. Together, our results indicate that the mechanism for nitrite vasorelaxation is largely intrinsic to the vessel and that under hypoxia physiological nitrite concentrations are sufficient to induce NO-mediated vasodilation independently of the nitrite reductase activities investigated here. Possible reaction mechanisms for nitrite vasoactivity, including formation of S-nitrosothiols within the arterial smooth muscle, are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center