R

-s—no2

+ 5

Nitroprusside

[(CN)5Fe—N=O]2

+3

Reprinted from Harrison, D. G., and Bates, J. M.: Circulation 87:1462, 1993, with permission from the American Heart Association.

Reprinted from Harrison, D. G., and Bates, J. M.: Circulation 87:1462, 1993, with permission from the American Heart Association.

increase of intracellular cGMP precede vascular relaxation. Sulfhydryl-containing compounds, such as cysteine, react chemically with organic nitrates to form inorganic nitrite ions. The release of NO from an organic nitrate, such as ni-troglycerin, appears to occur in a stepwise fashion involving nonenzymatic and enzymatic steps. Because nitroglycerin requires a three-electron reduction to release NO, thiols may be involved in the process. Nitroglycerin may decompose nonenzymatically by interaction with various thiols, such as cysteine or N-acetylcysteine, which may be present in tissue, to form a nitrosothiol intermediate before undergoing enzymatic transformation to release NO. Nitroglycerin also readily releases NO by acting on an enzyme system attached to the cellular surface membrane of smooth muscle. The process may include glutathione-S-transferases, which convert nitroglycerin to a vasoinactive nitrite, which then may release NO nonenzymatically.7

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