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Mitochondria recycle nitrite back to the bioregulator nitric monoxide.

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Nitric monoxide (NO) exerts a great variety of physiological functions. L-Arginine supplies amino groups which are transformed to NO in various NO-synthase-active isoenzyme complexes. NO-synthesis is stimulated under various conditions increasing the tissue of stable NO-metabolites. The major oxidation product found is nitrite. Elevated nitrite levels were reported to exist in a variety of diseases including HIV, reperfusion injury and hypovolemic shock. Denitrifying bacteria such as Paracoccus denitrificans have a membrane bound set of cytochromes (cyt cd1, cyt bc) which were shown to be involved in nitrite reduction activities. Mammalian mitochondria have similar cytochromes which form part of the respiratory chain. Like in bacteria quinols are used as reductants of these types of cytochromes. The observation of one-e- divergence from this redox-couple to external dioxygen made us to study whether this site of the respiratory chain may also recycle nitrite back to its bioactive form NO. Thus, the aim of the present study was therefore to confirm the existence of a reductive pathway which reestablishes the existence of the bioregulator NO from its main metabolite NO2-. Our results show that respiring mitochondria readily reduce added nitrite to NO which was made visible by nitrosylation of deoxyhemoglobin. The adduct gives characteristic triplet-ESR-signals. Using inhibitors of the respiratory chain for chemical sequestration of respiratory segments we were able to identify the site where nitrite is reduced. The results confirm the ubiquinone/cyt bc1 couple as the reductant site where nitrite is recycled. The high affinity of NO to the heme-iron of cytochrome oxidase will result in an impairment of mitochondrial energy-production. "Nitrite tolerance" of angina pectoris patients using NO-donors may be explained in that way.
Physical description
  • Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria
  • Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria
  • Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology, Vienna, Austria
  • Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology, Vienna, Austria
  • Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology, Vienna, Austria
  • Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria
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