Nitric oxide production by neutrophils obtained from patients during acute coronary syndromes: expression of the nitric oxide synthase isoforms

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 Mar 6;39(5):818-25. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(01)01828-9.


Objectives: To analyze the differences in the nitric oxide (NO) forming system between neutrophils obtained from patients during unstable angina (UA) and during acute myocardial infarction (AMI).

Background: Neutrophils are involved in the regulation of thrombus formation through the release of active substances such as NO. Acute myocardial infarction is the result of an occlusive thrombus; unstable angina is attributed to intermittent thrombus formation.

Methods: We studied 49 patients admitted to hospital within 24 h after the onset of chest pain: 31 experienced AMI and 18 experienced UA. Acute myocardial infarction was defined as CK greater than two-fold the upper limit of normal value of biochemical laboratory, with CK-MB >10% total CK. Unstable angina was defined as transient ST segment changes without significant increases in CK and CK-MB.

Results: The amount of NO generated by neutrophils from AMI patients was significantly higher than that generated by neutrophils from UA patients. Neutrophils from UA and AMI patients showed low levels of endothelial-like NO synthase protein expression and a marked expression of the inducible NO synthase (iNOS) isoform. Although neutrophils from patients during acute coronary syndromes generated high amounts of NO, they did not demonstrate an increased ability to stimulate cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) synthesis in platelets. This lack of activity to release NO by neutrophils from patients during AMI was unrelated to a defect in the platelet cGMP-forming system; sodium nitroprusside, an exogenous NO donor, similarly increased cGMP levels in platelets from AMI patients and healthy donors.

Conclusions: Neutrophils from patients during AMI and UA showed an increased production of NO and a marked expression of the iNOS isoform. However, NO released from these neutrophils showed a deficient functionality. These findings could have clinical implications because they show differences in thrombus growth in patients with UA versus patients with AMI.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angina, Unstable / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / metabolism*
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • Thrombosis / metabolism


  • Isoenzymes
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase