Metabolism of a liver-selective nitric oxide-releasing agent, V-PYRRO/NO, by human microsomal cytochromes P450

Keiko Inami, Raymond W. Nims, Aloka Srinivasan, Michael L. Citro, Joseph E. Saavedra, Arthur I. Cederbaum, Larry K. Keefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Endogenously generated nitric oxide (NO) mediates a host of important physiological functions, playing roles in the vascular, immunological, and neurological systems. As a result, exogenous agents that release NO have become important therapeutic interventions and research tools. O2-Vinyl 1-(pyrrolidin-1-yl)diazen-1-ium-1,2-diolate (V-PYRRO/NO) is a prodrug designed with the hypothesis that it might release nitric oxide via epoxidation of the vinyl group by cytochrome P450, followed by enzymatic and/or spontaneous epoxide hydration to release the ultimate NO-donating moiety, 1-(pyrrolidin-1-yl)diazen-1-ium-1,2-diolate (PYRRO/NO) ion. In this study, we investigated this hypothetical activation mechanism quantitatively for V-PYRRO/NO using cDNA-expressed human cytochrome P450 (CYP)2E1. Incubation with CYP2E1 and an NADPH-regenerating system resulted in a time-dependent decomposition of V-PYRRO/NO, with a turnover rate of 2.0 nmol/min/pmol CYP2E1. Nitrate and nitrite were detected in high yield as metabolites of NO. The predicted organic metabolites pyrrolidine and glycolaldehyde were also detected in near-quantitative yields. The enzymatic decomposition of V-PYRRO/NO was also catalyzed, albeit at lower rates, by CYP2A6 and CYP2B6. We conclude that the initial step in the metabolism of V-PYRRO/NO to NO in the liver is catalyzed efficiently but not exclusively by the alcohol-inducible form of cytochrome P450 (CYP2E1). The results confirm the proposed activation mechanism involving enzymatic oxidation of the vinyl group in V-PYRRO/NO followed by epoxide hydration and hydrolytic decomposition of the resulting PYRRO/NO ion to generate nitric oxide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-315
Number of pages7
JournalNitric Oxide - Biology and Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Cytochrome P450
  • Diazeniumdiolate
  • Nitric oxide
  • Prodrug


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