A decreased nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability and an increased oxidative stress play a pivotal role in different cardiovascular pathologies. As red blood cells (RBCs) participate in NO formation in the bloodstream, the aim of this study was to outline the metabolic profile of L-arginine (Arg)/NO pathway and of oxidative stress status in RBCs and in plasma of patients with microvascular angina (MVA), investigating similarities and differences with respect to coronary artery disease (CAD) patients or healthy controls (Ctrl). Analytes involved in Arg/NO pathway and the ratio of oxidized and reduced forms of glutathione were measured by LC-MS/MS. The arginase and the NO synthase (NOS) expression were evaluated by immunofluorescence staining. RBCs from MVA patients show increased levels of NO synthesis inhibitors, parallel to that found in plasma, and a reduction of NO synthase expression. When summary scores were computed, both patient groups were associated with a positive oxidative score and a negative NO score, with the CAD group located in a more extreme position with respect to Ctrl. This finding points out to an impairment of the capacity of RBCs to produce NO in a pathological condition characterized mostly by alterations at the microvascular bed with no significant coronary stenosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology