Understanding how nitrite can improve conditions such as hypertension, heart attack and stroke has been the object of worldwide research studies. New research from Wake Forest University has potentially moved the science one step closer to this goal.
In a paper published online ahead of print in the February issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, senior co-author Daniel Kim-Shapiro, professor of physics at Wake Forest, and others show that deoxygenated hemoglobin is indeed responsible for triggering the conversion of nitrite to nitric oxide, a process that affects blood flow and clotting.
“We have shown that conversion of nitrite to nitric oxide by deoxygenated hemoglobin in red blood cells reduces platelet activation,” Kim-Shapiro said. “This action has implications in treatments to reduce clotting in pathological conditions including sickle cell disease and stroke.”
In 2003, Kim-Shapiro collaborated with Mark Gladwin, now at the University of Pittsburgh, who led a study that showed that nitrite (which is also used to cure processed meats), is not biologically inert as had been previously thought, but can be converted to the important signaling molecule nitric oxide (NO), and thereby increase blood flow. At that time, the researchers hypothesized that the conversion of nitrite to NO was due to a reaction with deoxygenated hemoglobin in red blood cells.
The main goal of the latest research, Kim-Shapiro said, was to determine how red blood cells perform these important signaling functions that lead to increased blood flow. The researchers used several biophysical techniques to measure NO production from nitrite and red blood cells and examined the mechanism of NO production.
“Importantly, this action was increased under conditions of low oxygen – so nitrite acts to increase blood flow in the body just when it is needed. What we’re showing with this research is what part of the red cell is doing this, and it’s consistent with our original hypothesis,” he said. “This speaks to the mechanisms and how they work – to how nitrite is dilating blood vessels and reducing clotting.”
As director of Wake Forest University’s Translational Science Center, Kim-Shapiro and others have conducted studies that look at how nitrite and its biological precursor, nitrate (found in beet root juice) can be utilized in treatments for a variety of conditions. In a 2010 study, they were the first to find a link between consumption of nitrate-rich beet juice and increased blood flow to the brain.
Kim-Shapiro said that next steps in the research include examining whether all red blood cells have this activation function and whether this function is diminished in red cell diseases like sickle cell disease, other blood diseases, or in the transfusion of older blood.
“Does this important function that we can now attribute to the hemoglobin in the red cells get compromised under certain conditions? And if so, how can we enhance it?” he said.
This work was supported by NIH grants HL058091, HL098032, and the Translational Science Center of Wake Forest University and Hypertension & Vascular Research Center of Wake Forest School of Medicine.
Lead co-authors include Chen Liu and Nadeem Wajih, of WFU department of physics. Contributing authors include Xiaohua Liu, Swati Basu, John Janes, Madison Marvel, Christian Keggi, Amber N. Lee, Andrea M. Belanger, Debra I. Diz, Paul J. Laurienti, and David L. Caudell, all of Wake Forest; Christine C. Helms, University of Richmond; and Jun Wang and Mark T. Gladwin, from the Lung, Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute at the University of Pittsburgh.
Bonnie Davis | EurekAlert!
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State
How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy