Nitration of unsaturated fatty acids by nitric oxide-derived reactive nitrogen species peroxynitrite, nitrous acid, nitrogen dioxide, and nitronium ion

Chem Res Toxicol. 1999 Jan;12(1):83-92. doi: 10.1021/tx980207u.


Reactive nitrogen species derived from nitric oxide are potent oxidants formed during inflammation that can oxidize membrane and lipoprotein lipids in vivo. Herein, it is demonstrated that several of these species react with unsaturated fatty acid to yield nitrated oxidation products. Using HPLC coupled with both UV detection and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, products of reaction of ONOO- with linoleic acid displayed mass/charge (m/z) characteristics of LNO2 (at least three products at m/z 324, negative ion mode). Further analysis by MS/MS gave a major fragment at m/z 46. Addition of a NO2 group was confirmed using [15N]ONOO- which gave a product at m/z 325, fragmenting to form a daughter ion at m/z 47. Formation of nitrated lipids was inhibited by bicarbonate, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and Fe3+-EDTA, while the yield of oxidation products was decreased by bicarbonate and SOD, but not by Fe3+-EDTA. Reaction of linoleic acid with both nitrogen dioxide (*NO2) or nitronium tetrafluoroborate (NO2BF4) also yielded nitrated lipid products (m/z 324), with HPLC retention times and MS/MS fragmentation patterns identical to the m/z 324 species formed by reaction of ONOO- with linoleic acid. Finally, reaction of HPODE, but not linoleate, with nitrous acid (HONO) or isobutyl nitrite (BuiONO) yielded a product at m/z 340, or 341 upon reacting with [15N]HONO. MS/MS analysis gave an NO2- fragment, and 15N NMR indicated that the product contained a nitro (RNO2) functional group, suggesting that the product was nitroepoxylinoleic acid [L(O)NO2]. This species could form via homolytic dissociation of LOONO to LO* and *NO2 and rearrangement of LO* to an epoxyallylic radical L(O)* followed by recombination of L(O)* with *NO2. Since unsaturated lipids of membranes and lipoproteins are critical targets of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, these pathways lend insight into mechanisms for the formation of novel nitrogen-containing lipid products in vivo and provide synthetic strategies for further structural and functional studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Linoleic Acid / chemistry
  • Linoleic Acids / chemistry
  • Lipid Peroxides / chemistry
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Nitrates / chemistry*
  • Nitric Oxide / chemistry*
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / chemistry*
  • Nitrous Acid / chemistry*
  • Oxidants / chemistry*
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Linoleic Acids
  • Lipid Peroxides
  • Nitrates
  • Oxidants
  • 13-hydroperoxy-9,11-octadecadienoic acid
  • peroxynitric acid
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Nitrous Acid