Nitrotyrosine: New findings as a marker of postprandial oxidative stress

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Oxidative stress plays an important role in diabetic vascular complications. It has been shown that an imbalance in the ratio of nitric oxide to superoxide anion due to a prevalence of the superoxide anion leads to an alteration in vascular reactivity. Under these conditions an increase in peroxynitrite (ONOO-) production, resulting from the reaction between nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide (O2-), may be hypothesised. ONOO- is responsible for nitration of tyrosine residues in proteins; therefore the presence of nitrotyrosine (NT) in plasma proteins is considered indirect evidence of ONOO- production. NT has been found in the plasma of patients with diabetes, but it is not detectable in the plasma of healthy controls. NT plasma values are correlated with plasma glucose concentrations, and further studies exploring the effects of acute hyperglycaemia on NT formation confirmed that NT is produced both in normal subjects during hyperglycaemic clamp and in working hearts from rats during hyperglycaemic perfusion. Postprandial hypertriglyceridemia and hyperglycaemia are considered risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Evidence suggests that postprandial hypertriglyceridaemia and hyperglycaemia induce an endothelial dysfunction through an oxidative stress; however, the specific roles of these two factors are matters for debate. In a clinical study, high-fat load and glucose alone each produced a decrease in endothelial function and an increase in NT in normal subjects and patients with diabetes. These effects were more pronounced when high-fat load and glucose were combined. Short-term simvastatin treatment had no effect on lipid parameters, but reduced the effects of high-fat load, glucose alone, and both high-fat load and glucose on endothelial function and NT. Long-term simvastatin treatment was accompanied by a smaller increase in postprandial triglycerides, which was followed by smaller variations in endothelial function and NT. This study showed an independent and cumulative effect of postprandial hypertriglyceridemia and hyperglycaemia on endothelial function, suggesting oxidative stress as a common mediator of these effects. Simvastatin shows a beneficial effect on oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction, which may be ascribed to a direct effect as well as the lipid-lowering action of the drug. These studies indicate that ONOO- is generated in diabetes, suggesting the possible involvement of ONOO- in the development of diabetic complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Practice, Supplement
Issue number129
Publication statusPublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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