S-nitrosoglutathione breakdown prevents airway smooth muscle relaxation in the guinea pig

Kezhong Fang, Roger Johns, Timothy Macdonald, Michael Kinter, Benjamin Gaston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Airway levels of the endogenous bronchodilator S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) are low in children with near-fatal asthma. We hypothesized that GSNO could be broken down in the lung and that this catabolism could inhibit airway smooth muscle relaxation. In our experiments, GSNO was broken down by guinea pig lung homogenates, particularly after ovalbumin sensitization (OS). Two lung protein fractions had catabolic activity. One was NADPH dependent and was more active after OS. The other was NADPH independent and was partially inhibited by aurothioglucose. Guinea pig lung tissue protein fractions with GSNO catabolic activity inhibited GSNO-mediated guinea pig tracheal ring relaxation. The relaxant effect of GSNO was partially restored by aurothioglucose. These observations suggest that catabolism of GSNO in the guinea pig 1) is mediated by lung proteins, 2) is partially upregulated after OS, and 3) may contribute to increased airway smooth muscle tone. We speculate that enzymatic breakdown of GSNO in the lung could contribute to asthma pathophysiology by inhibiting the beneficial effects of GSNO, including its effect on airway smooth muscle tone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L716-L721
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4 23-4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Gold
  • Nitric oxide
  • S-nitrosothiol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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