Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.)

Formation of ethyl nitrite in vivo after ethanol administration.

PMID 15902916


The purpose of the current study was to ascertain whether ethyl nitrite could be detected in vitro from the reaction of ethanol with peroxynitrite, as well as after administration of ethanol to mice. Ethyl nitrite analyte was determined by using gas chromatography--mass spectrometry with headspace analysis with the use of a solid-phase microextraction device. Peroxynitrite was allowed to react with ethanol under a variety of conditions in vitro. Ethyl nitrite was generated when peroxynitrite was allowed to react with ethanol. Male, inbred short-sleep mice were injected intraperitoneally with either ethanol [5.2 g/kg; 15.0% (weight/volume) ethanol in saline] or a 50:50 mixture of deuterium-labeled ethanol (D5-ethanol) and ethanol. Blood samples, as well as whole brain and liver sections, were obtained from mice 30 min later for determination of ethanol, D5-ethanol, ethyl nitrite, and deuterium-labeled ethyl nitrite (D5-ethyl nitrite). Time courses for the appearance of ethyl nitrite in blood samples, as well as in whole brain and liver sections, obtained from mice were carried out. After ethanol administration, ethyl nitrite was detected and quantitated in mouse blood, brain, and liver. A small fraction of ethyl nitrite was present. When a 50:50 mixture of ethanol and D5-ethanol was given to animals, both ethyl nitrite and D5-ethyl nitrite were found in blood and brain in approximately the same ratio as that of ethanol and D5-ethanol. The level of D5-ethyl nitrite in liver was more than twice that of ethyl nitrite, indicating a possible isotope effect in the metabolism of ethyl nitrite. Ethyl nitrite is a new metabolite of ethanol in vivo. The mechanism of ethyl nitrite formation is most likely the reaction of ethanol with peroxynitrite generated in vivo from nitric oxide.

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Ethyl nitrite solution, 10-20 wt. % in ethanol