Nitrated fatty acids (NO2-FAs) exhibit a variety of important biological attributes, including a nitric oxide (˙NO) donor and a cell-signaling molecule. We investigated the mechanisms of fatty-acid nitration, and the release of ˙NO from NO2-FAs. NO2-FAs are formed effectively by the addition of ˙NO2, followed by either hydrogen abstraction or addition of a second NO2. The latter reaction results in a vicinal nitronitrite ester form of FA, which isomerizes into vicinal nitrohydroxy FA via hydronium ion catalysis. The nitrohydroxy FAs exist in equilibria with NO2-FAs. Nitration of conjugated linoleic acid (cLA) was proved to be significantly more efficient than that of LA. In a nonaqueous environment, release of ˙NO from nitrite ester (ONO-FA) was facilitated by ˙NO2. Furthermore, the release of ˙NO from NO2-cLA is the most favorable in the nitrite ester mechanism. In an aqueous environment, the modified Nef reaction was shown to be feasible. In addition, the release of ˙NO from 10- and 12-NO2-LA involves a larger reaction barrier and is more endergonic than those from 9- and 13-NO2-LA.
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