A simple and sensitive assay and a cellular bioimaging method for nitric oxide (NO) were developed using a novel diaminofluorescein DAF-FM and its diacetate. DAF-FM is converted via an NO-specific mechanism to an intensely fluorescent triazole derivative. For the measurement of NO, the triazole derivative of DAF-FM was determined by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. In the presence of 1 microM DAF-FM, the concentrations of NOR-1, an NO donor, in the range of 2-200 nM were linearly related to the fluorescence intensity. This sensitive NO assay enabled us to detect the spontaneous and substance P-induced NO release from isolated porcine coronary arteries, both of which were dependent entirely on the NO synthase activity in vascular endothelial cells. We also obtained fluorescence images of cultured smooth muscle cells of the rat urinary bladder after loading with DAF-FM diacetate. In the cells pretreated with cytokines, the fluorescence intensity increased with time after DAF-FM loading. This increase in the fluorescence intensity was blocked by prior treatment of the muscle cells with an NO synthase inhibitor, N(G)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester. Therefore, the present novel diaminofluorescein fluorometry should be useful not only for sensitive NO assay, but also for NO imaging in a variety of biological specimens.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.