The mechanism of nitric oxide and/or superoxide cytotoxicity in endothelial cells

Hae Young Chung, Takako Yokozawa, Myoung Sook Kim, Kyung Hee Lee, Kyu Won Kim, Ryung Yang, Jin Ho Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the mechanism of nitric oxide (NO) and/or superoxide (O2- )-induced cytotoxicity and the importance of thiols in endothelial cells by treating the cells with superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and hemoglobin (Hb). Pyrogallol, a O2- generator and precursor of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), had potent cytotoxic effects on the endothelial cells, but this effect was completely abolished by SOD/CAT. Hb, a NO scavenger, protected the endothelial cells from sodium nitroprusside-induced cytotoxicity. The cytotoxic effect of 3-morpholinosydnonimine (SIN-1), which is thought to form peroxynitrite (ONOO-) as a simultaneous O2- and NO generator, was completely blocked by SOD/CAT or Hb. On the other hand, pretreatment of endothelial cells with diethylmaleate, a glutathione depleter, aggravated the cytotoxicity induced by SIN-1, which was prevented by addition of exogenous glutathione and/or SOD/CAT. These data suggest that the cytotoxicity induced by NO, O2- and ONOO- can be blocked by glutathione, and that this is an important cellular protective mechanism against these reactive oxygen species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-233
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental and Toxicologic Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2000


  • Cytotoxicity
  • Endothelial cells
  • Nitric oxide cytotoxicity
  • Peroxynitrite
  • Superoxide cytotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology


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