Formation of new bioactive organic nitrites and their identification with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography coupled to nitrite reduction

Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Aug 1;82(3):248-59. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2011.04.005. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


Nitric oxide (NO) donors, notably organic nitrates and nitrites are used therapeutically but tolerance develops rapidly, making the use of e.g. nitroglycerin difficult. NO donation in the pulmonary vascular bed might be useful in critically ill patients. Organic nitrites are not associated with tachyphylaxis but may induce methaemoglobinemia and systemic hypotension which might hamper their use. We hypothesised that new lung-selective NO donors can be identified by utilizing exhaled NO as measure for pulmonary NO donation and systemic arterial pressure to monitor hypotension and tolerance development. Solutions of alcohols and carbohydrates were reacted with NO gas and administered to ventilated rabbits for evaluation of in vivo NO donation. Chemical characterization was made by liquid chromatography with on-line nitrite reduction (LC-NO) and by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In vivo experiments showed that the hydroxyl-containing compounds treated with NO gas yielded potent NO donors, via nitrosylation to organic nitrites. Analyses by LC-NO showed that the reaction products were able to release NO in vitro. In GC-MS the reaction products were determined to be the organic nitrites, where some are new chemical entities. Non-polar donors preferentially increased exhaled NO with less effect on systemic blood pressure whereas more polar molecules had larger effects on systemic blood pressure and less on exhaled NO. We conclude that new organic nitrites suitable for intravenous administration are produced by reacting NO gas and certain hydroxyl-containing compounds in aqueous solutions. Selectivity of different organic nitrites towards the pulmonary and systemic circulation, respectively, may be determined by molecular polarity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, Liquid*
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / administration & dosage
  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous / chemistry
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry*
  • Glycerol / administration & dosage
  • Glycerol / chemistry
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Male
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / chemistry*
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / pharmacology*
  • Nitrites / chemistry*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Rabbits
  • Vasodilation / drug effects


  • Fat Emulsions, Intravenous
  • Nitric Oxide Donors
  • Nitrites
  • Glycerol