pH-dependent nitration of para-hydroxyphenylacetic acid in the stomach

Ananth Pannala, Ali Mani, Catherine Rice-Evans, Kevin Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The major urinary metabolite of nitrotyrosine is 3-nitro-4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid (3-Nitro-HPA). However, recent animal studies have shown that the majority of urinary 3-Nitro-HPA is derived from nitration of endogenous para-hydroxyphenylacetic acid (HPA), a metabolite of tyrosine. One potential site for the formation of 3-Nitro-HPA is the stomach, where nitrous acid is formed by the reaction of nitrite in saliva with gastric acid. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is pH-dependent nitration of salivary para-hydroxyphenylacetic acid or tyrosine, and the effects of dietary nitrate. Healthy volunteers (n = 18) ingested either a low or high nitrate diet, with and without the administration of omeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor. Urinary 3-Nitro-HPA excretion increased from 197 +/- 52 to 319 +/- 88 microg/day on switching from a low to a high nitrate diet (P < 0.05), and decreased (166 +/- 53 mug/day, P < 0.05) when gastric pH was increased by omeprazole. To determine whether 3-Nitro-HPA can be formed by nitration of para-hydroxyphenylacetic acid in the stomach, 500 microg of deuterated para-hydroxyphenylacetic acid was ingested with a high nitrate meal. This led to the excretion of both deuterated HPA and 3-Nitro-HPA in the urine, confirming that para-hydroxyphenylacetic acid is absorbed, and nitrated. Since omeprazole decreases the formation of 3-Nitro-HPA, presumably by decreasing the nitration of endogenous para-hydroxyphenylacetic acid present in saliva, and the observation that ingested deuterated para-hydroxyphenylacetic acid is nitrated and excreted, we conclude that endogenous para-hydroxyphenylacetic acid is nitrated in the stomach, absorbed, and excreted as 3-Nitro-HPA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-901
JournalFree Radical Biology & Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2006


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