Nitric oxide reaction with red blood cells and hemoglobin under heterogeneous conditions

Tae H. Han, Daniel R. Hyduke, Mark W. Vaughn, Jon M. Fukuto, James C. Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Understanding the interaction of nitric oxide (NO) with red blood cells (RBCs) is vital to elucidating the metabolic fate of NO in the vasculature. Because hemoglobin (Hb) is the most abundant intraerythrocytic protein and reacts rapidly with NO, the interaction of NO with Hb has been studied extensively. We and others have shown the NO reaction with RBCs is nearly 1,000-fold slower than the reaction with cell-free Hb. Because the reaction rate of NO with cell-free Hb and RBCs is quite different, we hypothesize that different reaction products evolve under locally high NO concentrations, which can be generated by bolus NO addition or NO inhalation. Here we use electron paramagnetic resonance to show that bolus NO addition to cell-free Hb solutions results in nitrosylhemoglobin [HbFe(II)NO] formation as a minor product through a MetHb-dependent pathway. Further, the RBC is shown to be more prone to form HbFe(II)NO under this heterogeneous condition compared with an equivalent free-Hb solution. In both cases, trapping MetHb with cyanide blocked the formation of HbFe(II)NO. We conclude that the formation of HbFe(II)NO is a heterogeneous phenomenon involving three successive reactions of NO with the same heme molecule. These results were supported further by mathematically modeling NO-Hb reactions and diffusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7763-7768
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - May 28 2002


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