Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Diminished nitric oxide (NO) bioactivity and enhanced peroxynitrite formation have been implicated as major contributors to atherosclerotic vascular dysfunctions. Hallmark reactions of peroxynitrite include the accumulation of 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT) in proteins and oxidation of the NO synthase (NOS) cofactor, tetrahydrobiopterin (BH(4)). The present study sought to 1) quantify the extent to which 3-NT accumulates and BH(4) becomes oxidized in organs of apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE(-/-)) atherosclerotic mice and 2) determine the specific contribution of inducible NOS (iNOS) to these processes. Whereas protein 3-NT and oxidized BH(4) were undetected or near the detection limit in heart, lung, and kidney of 3-wk-old ApoE(-/-) mice or ApoE(-/-) mice fed a regular chow diet for 24 wk, robust accumulation was evident after 24 wk on a Western (atherogenic) diet. Since 3-NT accumulation was diminished 3- to 20-fold in heart, lung, and liver in ApoE(-/-) mice missing iNOS, iNOS-derived species are involved in this reaction. In contrast, iNOS-derived species did not contribute to elevated protein 3-NT formation in kidney or brain. iNOS deletion also afforded marked protection against BH(4) oxidation in heart, lung, and kidney of atherogenic ApoE(-/-) mice but not in brain or liver. These findings demonstrate that iNOS-derived species are increased during atherogenesis in ApoE(-/-) mice and that these species differentially contribute to protein 3-NT accumulation and BH(4) oxidation in a tissue-selective manner. Since BH(4) oxidation can switch the predominant NOS product from NO to superoxide, we predict that progressive NOS uncoupling is likely to drive atherogenic vascular dysfunctions.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol

Publication Date





H2878 - H2887


Animals, Apolipoproteins E, Atherosclerosis, Biopterin, Dietary Fats, Metabolic Clearance Rate, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II, Nitro Compounds, Organ Specificity, Oxidation-Reduction, Proteins, Tissue Distribution, Tyrosine