Nanomolar concentrations of nitric oxide reversibly inhibit synaptosomal respiration by competing with oxygen at cytochrome oxidase

FEBS Lett. 1994 Dec 19;356(2-3):295-8. doi: 10.1016/0014-5793(94)01290-3.


Nitric oxide (NO) reversibly inhibited oxygen consumption of brain synaptosomes. Inhibition was reversible, occurred at the level of cytochrome oxidase, and was apparently competitive with oxygen, with half-inhibition by 270 nM NO at oxygen concentrations around 145 microM and by 60 nM at around 30 microM O2. Isolated cytochrome oxidase was inhibited by similar levels of NO. These levels of NO are within the measured physiological and pathological range for a number of tissues and conditions, suggesting that NO inhibition of cytochrome oxidase and the competition with oxygen may occur in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Light
  • Microchemistry
  • Nitric Oxide / pharmacology*
  • Nitroprusside / pharmacology
  • Nitroprusside / radiation effects
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Synaptosomes / drug effects
  • Synaptosomes / metabolism*


  • Nitroprusside
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Electron Transport Complex IV
  • Oxygen