Circulating NO pool: assessment of nitrite and nitroso species in blood and tissues

Free Radic Biol Med. 2004 Feb 15;36(4):413-22. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2003.11.011.


The formation of nitric oxide (NO) has been linked to many regulatory functions in mammalian cells. With the appreciation that NO-mediated nitrosation reactions are involved in cell signaling and pathology there is a need to elucidate and better characterize the different biochemical pathways of NO in vivo. Despite significant methodological advances over the years one major obstacle in assessing the significance of nitrosated species and other NO-related metabolites remains: their reliable measurement in complex biological matrices. In this review we briefly discuss the major routes of NO metabolism and transport in the mammalian circulation, considering plasma, red blood cell, and tissue compartments separately. In addition, we attempt to give a recommendation as to the most appropriate analytical technique and sample processing procedures for the reliable quantification of either species.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Erythrocytes / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / blood*
  • Nitric Oxide / classification
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitrites / blood*
  • Nitrites / metabolism*
  • Nitroso Compounds / blood*
  • Nitroso Compounds / metabolism*


  • Nitrites
  • Nitroso Compounds
  • Nitric Oxide