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!
New research recovers nutrients from seafood process water
31.10.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology
Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility
17.10.2018 | Universität Zürich
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
19.11.2018 | Life Sciences
19.11.2018 | Life Sciences
19.11.2018 | Event News