Nitric oxide (•NO) is a physiological mediator of vasorelaxation constitutively synthesized by endothelial nitric oxide synthase.
Because •NO has a short half-life, it is stored by proteins through S-nitrosation reactions. S-nitrosation was recently defined as a
post-translational modification of proteins for cellular signalling, as important as glycosylation and phosphorylation. Disulfide forming/
isomerizing enzymes like thioredoxin (Trx), protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), which are chaperone proteins, are implicated into
transnitrosation reactions, which are the transfer of •NO from one cysteine residue to another one. Furthermore, Trx has been shown to
denitrosate S-nitrosoproteins depending on its redox status. S-nitrosation of Trx on Cys residues apart from active site, under nitrosative
or oxidative stresses, enhances its activity, thereby reducing intracellular reactive oxygen species. Trx and PDI have therefore an essential
role for cell signalling control which leads, among other actions, to cardio and vasculo-protection. The diminution of either •NO synthesis
or bioavailability is implicated into a large number of cardiovascular pathologies associated to hypoxia or vasoconstriction like, endothelial
dysfunction, arterial hypertension and atherosclerosis. In order to mimic the physiological storage of •NO as S-nitrosothiols, the development
of •NO donors should be based on the covalent S-NO bond. The chemical stabilisation of the S-NO bond and protection
against enzymatically active proteins such as PDI//Trx are major points for the design of stable compounds. S-nitrosothiols entrapment in
innovative formulations (films, gels, microparticles, nanoparticles) is an emerging field in order to stabilise and protect them, and to deliver
•NO under a sustained release at the targeted site.
Keywords: Thioredoxin, protein disulfide isomerase, nitric oxide, nitrosation, S-nitrosothiol, •NO donors, innovative formulation, vasorelaxation, arterial hypertension, atherosclerosis.
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