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Biological Nitration of Arachidonic Acid

[ Vol. 2 , Issue. 1 ]


Michael Balazy and Candace D. Poff   Pages 81 - 93 ( 13 )


When a spontaneous autoxidation of arachidonic acid to prostaglandin-like products was first described almost 40 years ago, it was thought to be an artifact that interfered with the detection of enzymatically generated prostaglandins. It has now been generally accepted that the autoxidation of arachidonic acid occurs in vivo and leads to formation of isoprostanes and other products. Sensitive methods can detect the isoprostanes as useful biological markers, which help to estimate, non-invasively, the burden of free radicals formed in pathologies resulting from oxidative stress. After the discovery of NO, it has been hypothesized that NO and its active congeners (reactive nitrogen species, RNS), such as nitrogen dioxide radical (NO 2), nitrous acid, peroxynitrite, can also participate in lipid peroxidation, either as initiators or modulators of processes initiated by the hydroxyl radical. In biological systems these RNS not only originate from the biosynthesis of NO but also from exogenous sources such as polluted air and dietary nitrite. While the ability of NO2 to induce lipid peroxidation has been long known, more recent studies have discovered novel processes that have been termed lipid nitration. Polyunsaturated fatty acids appear to be readily targeted by RNS. Among the products of arachidonic acid nitration by NO2, interesting lipids have been detected, such as nitroeicosatetraenoic acids, α,β- nitrohydroxyeicosatrienoic acids, and trans-arachidonic acids. The products of fatty acid nitration have the potential to function as biomarkers and / or lipid mediators of mechanisms distinct from fatty acid peroxidation but offering insight into the contribution of specific RNS such as NO2 to the damage of biological membrane resulting from nitrooxidative stress.


nitrogen dioxide, arachidonic acid, lipid nitration, lipid peroxidation, cis-trans isomerization, trans fatty acids, nitroeicosanoids


Department of Pharmacology New York Medical College Valhalla, NY 10595, USA.

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