Age-associated changes in nitric oxide metabolites nitrite and nitrate

Int J Clin Lab Res. 2000;30(2):83-5. doi: 10.1007/BF02874163.


Aging is an important determinant of vascular disease. Endothelial dysfunction accompanying vascular disease may be related to cardiovascular risk factors such as aging, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. Experimental models suggest that endothelium-derived nitric oxide is reduced with aging, and this reduction is implicated in atherogenesis. The aim of this study was to determine whether increased age resulted in altered serum nitrite and nitrate levels, end-products of nitric oxide, in healthy subjects. Sixty-nine healthy individuals were divided into five different age groups: group I (6-15 years), group II (16-30 years), group III (31-45 years), group IV (46-60 years), and group V (>61 years). In these subjects, serum nitrite was measured by the Griess reaction and nitrate by the nitrate reductase method. Statistical analysis showed that serum nitrite levels were not significantly different in any of the groups, while serum nitrate concentrations exhibited significant differences (P<0.001). These findings suggest that nitric oxide synthesis and/or secretion is reduced with age and consequently endothelium-dependent vasodilation is impaired.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism
  • Child
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrates / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitrites / metabolism*
  • Transaminases / blood
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Urea / blood
  • Vasodilation / physiology


  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Triglycerides
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Urea
  • Cholesterol
  • Creatinine
  • Transaminases