Therapie mit NO-Dionatoren Desiderat einer antiarteriosklerotischen und antioxidativen Therapie

Translated title of the contribution: Therapy with NO Donors - Antiatherogenic and Antioxidant Actions

Nina Grosser, Henning Schröder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Nitric acid esters such as glyceryl trinitrate were introduced into therapy more than a century ago and are still widely used for the treatment of myocardial ischemia and its main symptom angina pectoris. The basic mechanisms responsible for the vasodilatory and anti-ischemic action of organic nitrates involve bioactivation of, and nitric oxide (NO) release from, these compounds which have therefore been termed NO donors. The organic nitrate pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) is known to possess antioxidant properties that are thought to be the underlying cause for its specific pharmacological profile. In contrast to other long-acting nitrates, PETN induces tolerance-free vasodilation in humans and was reported to prevent endothelial dysfunction as well as atherogenesis in cholesterol-fed rabbits. However, the exact nature of the vasoprotective signaling pathways triggered by PETN has remained obscure. The present study demonstrates that the active PETN metabolite PETriN stimulates protein expression of the antioxidant defense protein heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1; Figures 1 and 2). Additionally, PETriN enhanced the enzymatic activity of HO-1 measured as formation of the HO-1 metabolites bilirubin (Figure 3) and carbon monoxide (Figure 4) in lysates from endothelial cells. HO-1 induction subsequently led to a marked increase in protein expression of a second antioxidant protein, ferritin, via the HO-1-dependent release of free iron from endogenous heme sources (Figures 1 and 5). Pretreatment of endothelial cells with PETriN was followed by increased cellular resistance to oxidant injury mediated by hydrogen peroxide (Figure 6). Endothelial protection by PETriN was mimicked by exogenous bilirubin which led to an almost complete reversal of hydrogen peroxide-induced toxicity (Figure 8). Increased HO-1 and ferritin expression as well as endothelial protection occurred at micromolar concentrations of PETriN which are well within the range of plasma or tissue levels that can be expected during oral therapy The capacity to protect the endothelium in vitro may translate into and explain the previously observed antiatherogenic actions of PETN in vivo. In this study, another long-acting nitrate, isosorbide dinitrate (ISDN), did not protect endothelial cells from oxidant damage (Figure 6). The absence of significant cytoprotection in the presence of ISDN was paralleled by a lack of HO-1 and ferritin stimulatory capacity (Figures 2 and 5). ISDN had no significant effect on carbon monoxide release or bilirubin formation (Figures 3 and 4). These observations are in agreement with results demonstrating small or nondetectable amounts of NO released from ISDN and its active metabolite isosorbide mononitrate (ISMN) measured as cyclic GMP formation in RFL-6 reporter cells (Figure 7). Interestingly and in contrast to PETN, isosorbide nitrates are known to induce tolerance to their cardiovascular effects, presumably via oxidant stress. Moreover, in earlier investigations aimed at assessing the antiatherogenic potential of nitrates, PETN but not isosorbide nitrates prevented plaque formation and endothelial dysfunction in animal models of atherosclerosis. Thus, the ability to activate HO-1 induction and associated antioxidant pathways apparently distinguishes PETN from other long-acting nitrates and may explain their different patterns of action in vivo (Figure 9).

Translated title of the contributionTherapy with NO Donors - Antiatherogenic and Antioxidant Actions
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)116-122
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2004


  • Bilirubin
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Endothelium
  • Ferritin
  • Heme oxygenase-1
  • Pentaerythritol tetranitrate


Dive into the research topics of 'Therapy with NO Donors - Antiatherogenic and Antioxidant Actions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this