Unraveling the biology, pharmacology, and toxicology of NO depends on accurate NO assays, two of the more common being the oxyHb (oxyhemoglobin) assay and potentiometric detection using a Clark-type NO-selective electrode. Comparison of the specificity and sensitivity of the oxyHb and potentiometric methods was carried out using a broad series of nitrovasodilators, including organic nitrates, nitrites, thionitrates, nitrosothiols, and diazenium diolates. Only with the more labile diazenium diolates was a linear relationship observed between the rates of NO release measured potentiometrically and the rate of oxyHb oxidation from the oxyHb assay. The nonlinear plots indicate that N,O-species other than NO itself are capable of oxidizing oxyHb.
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