Nitroprusside: A Potpourri of Biologically Reactive Intermediates

  • Roger P. Smith
  • Dean E. Wilcox
  • Harriet Kruszyna
  • Robert Kruszyna
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 283)


Sodium nitroprusside, Na2[Fe(CN)5NO], (SNP) has been recognized as a potent, directly acting vasodilator for over a half-century. More recently, it has been found also to inhibit blood platelet aggregation and adhesion. These biologicial activities are ascribed to the nitrosyl ligand on SNP which is thought to activate guanylate cyclase by binding to its critical heme group. c-GMP in turn initiates a cascade of kinase reactions which result in the utimate biological effects. Thus, SNP is one of the compounds known as the nitric oxide (NO) vasodilators (Ignarro, 1989) which mimic the effects of the so-called endothelium-derived relaxing factor (Furchgott and Zawadzki, 1980), an endogenous mediator which many are convinced is identical to NO. The same or a similar factor is believed to play in role in excitatory amino acid transmission in the central nervous system, and to be the cytotoxic factor synthesized by neutrophils and macrophages (Collier and Valiance, 1989).


Nitric Oxide Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Methylene Blue Sodium Nitroprusside Guanylate Cyclase 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger P. Smith
    • 1
  • Dean E. Wilcox
    • 2
  • Harriet Kruszyna
    • 1
  • Robert Kruszyna
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyDartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryDartmouth Medical School and Dartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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