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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Heme oxygenase-1 induction may explain the antioxidant profile of pentaerythrityl trinitrate.

The organic nitrate pentaerythrityl tetranitrate (PETN) is known to exert long-term antioxidant and antiatherogenic effects by as yet unidentified mechanisms. In cultured endothelial cells derived from human umbilical vein, the active PETN metabolite PETriN (0.01-1 mM) increased heme oxygenase (HO)-1 mRNA and protein levels in a concentration-dependent fashion. HO-1 induction was accompanied by a marked increase in catalytic activity of the enzyme as reflected by enhanced formation of carbon monoxide and bilirubin. Pretreatment with PETriN or bilirubin at low micromolar concentrations protected endothelial cells from hydrogen peroxide-mediated toxicity. HO-1 induction and endothelial protection by PETriN were not mimicked by isosorbide dinitrate, another long-acting nitrate. The present study demonstrates that PETriN stimulates mRNA and protein expression as well as enzymatic activity of the antioxidant defense protein HO-1 in endothelial cells. Increased HO-1 expression and ensuing formation of cytoprotective bilirubin may contribute to and explain the specific antioxidant and antiatherogenic actions of PETN.[1]


  1. Heme oxygenase-1 induction may explain the antioxidant profile of pentaerythrityl trinitrate. Oberle, S., Abate, A., Grosser, N., Vreman, H.J., Dennery, P.A., Schneider, H.T., Stalleicken, D., Schröder, H. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (2002) [Pubmed]
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