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Biochem J. 1990 Mar 15;266(3):921-3.

Nitric oxide is inactivated by the bacterial pigment pyocyanin.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, London, U.K.


Pyocyanin is a phenazine pigment produced by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa and found in human lung secretions. Micromolar concentrations of pyocyanin inhibited the bioactivity of endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) generated from bovine pulmonary-artery endothelium in response to bradykinin. This inhibition was reversed by perfusing the EDRF-bioassay system with pyocyanin-free buffer for 15 min, but persisted in the presence of superoxide dismutase (20 units/ml). When nitric oxide, the major component of EDRF, was passed into an aqueous solution of pyocyanin in the absence of O2, a rapid colour change occurred from blue to pink; m.s. analysis of the products showed that the pyocyanin had been converted into a nitrosylated species.

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