Profound biopterin oxidation and protein tyrosine nitration in tissues of ApoE-null mice on an atherogenic diet: contribution of inducible nitric oxide synthase

Rita K Upmacis, Mark J Crabtree, Ruba S Deeb, Hao Shen, Paul B Lane, Lea Esther S Benguigui, Nobuyo Maeda, David P Hajjar, Steven S Gross
American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology 2007, 293 (5): H2878-87
Diminished nitric oxide (NO) bioactivity and enhanced peroxynitrite formation have been implicated as major contributors to atherosclerotic vascular dysfunctions. Hallmark reactions of peroxynitrite include the accumulation of 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT) in proteins and oxidation of the NO synthase (NOS) cofactor, tetrahydrobiopterin (BH(4)). The present study sought to 1) quantify the extent to which 3-NT accumulates and BH(4) becomes oxidized in organs of apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE(-/-)) atherosclerotic mice and 2) determine the specific contribution of inducible NOS (iNOS) to these processes. Whereas protein 3-NT and oxidized BH(4) were undetected or near the detection limit in heart, lung, and kidney of 3-wk-old ApoE(-/-) mice or ApoE(-/-) mice fed a regular chow diet for 24 wk, robust accumulation was evident after 24 wk on a Western (atherogenic) diet. Since 3-NT accumulation was diminished 3- to 20-fold in heart, lung, and liver in ApoE(-/-) mice missing iNOS, iNOS-derived species are involved in this reaction. In contrast, iNOS-derived species did not contribute to elevated protein 3-NT formation in kidney or brain. iNOS deletion also afforded marked protection against BH(4) oxidation in heart, lung, and kidney of atherogenic ApoE(-/-) mice but not in brain or liver. These findings demonstrate that iNOS-derived species are increased during atherogenesis in ApoE(-/-) mice and that these species differentially contribute to protein 3-NT accumulation and BH(4) oxidation in a tissue-selective manner. Since BH(4) oxidation can switch the predominant NOS product from NO to superoxide, we predict that progressive NOS uncoupling is likely to drive atherogenic vascular dysfunctions.

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