The chemistry of nitrosative stress induced by nitric oxide and reactive nitrogen oxide species. Putting perspective on stressful biological situations

Biol Chem. 2004 Jan;385(1):1-10. doi: 10.1515/BC.2004.001.


This review addresses many of the chemical aspects of nitrosative stress mediated by N2O3. From a cellular perspective, N2O3 and the resulting reactive nitrogen oxide species target specific motifs such as thiols, lysine active sites, and zinc fingers and is dependant upon both the rates of production as well as consumption of NO and must be taken into account in order to access the nitrosative environment. Since production and consumption are integral parts of N2O3 generation, we predict that nitrosative stress occurs under specific conditions, such as chronic inflammation. In contrast to conditions of stress, nitrosative chemistry may also provide cellular protection through the regulation of critical signaling pathways. Therefore, a careful evaluation of the chemistry of nitrosation based upon specific experimental conditions may provide a better understanding of how the subtle balance between oxidative and nitrosative stress may be involved in the etiology and control of various disease processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amines / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Nitrates / chemistry
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Nitric Oxide / chemistry
  • Nitric Oxide / toxicity*
  • Nitrosation
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / chemistry
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / metabolism
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / toxicity*


  • Amines
  • Nitrates
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species
  • Nitric Oxide