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Endothelial nitric oxide synthase-dependent superoxide generation from adriamycin. Biochemistry 1997 Sep 23;36(38):11293-7



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-19244383998   271 Citations


Adriamycin (or doxorubicin) is an active and broad spectrum chemotherapeutic agent. Unfortunately, its clinical use is severely restricted by a dose-limiting cardiotoxicity which has been linked to the formation of superoxide. Enzymatic one-electron reduction of adriamycin forms adriamycin semiquinone radical, which rapidly reacts with oxygen to form superoxide and adriamycin. In this way, adriamycin provides a kinetic mechanism for the one-electron reduction of oxygen by flavoenzymes such as NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase and mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase. We demonstrate here that the endothelial isoform of nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) reduces adriamycin to the semiquinone radical. As a consequence, superoxide formation is enhanced and nitric oxide production is decreased. Adriamycin binds to eNOS with a Km of approximately 5 microM, as calculated from both eNOS-dependent NADPH consumption and superoxide generation. Adriamycin stimulated superoxide formation is not affected by calcium/calmodulin and is abolished by the flavoenzyme inhibitor, diphenyleneiodonium. This strongly suggests that adriamycin undergoes reduction at the reductase domain of eNOS. A consequence of eNOS-mediated reductive activation of adriamycin is the disruption of the balance between nitric oxide and superoxide. This may lead eNOS to generate peroxynitrite and hydrogen peroxide, potent oxidants implicated in several vascular pathologies.

Author List

Vásquez-Vivar J, Martasek P, Hogg N, Masters BS, Pritchard KA Jr, Kalyanaraman B


Neil Hogg PhD Associate Dean, Professor in the Biophysics department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Balaraman Kalyanaraman PhD Chair, Professor in the Biophysics department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Kirkwood A. Pritchard PhD Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Jeannette M. Vasquez-Vivar PhD Professor in the Biophysics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
Endothelium, Vascular
Models, Chemical
Nitric Oxide
Nitric Oxide Synthase
jenkins-FCD Prod-482 91ad8a360b6da540234915ea01ff80e38bfdb40a