* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received May 24, 2002; Revision received July 26, 2002
It was established that nitrite in the presence of chloride, bromide, and thiocyanate decreases the rate of hydrogen peroxide decomposition by catalase. The decrease was recorded by the permanganatometric method and by a method of dynamic calorimetry. Nitrite was not destroyed in the course of the reaction and the total value of heat produced in the process was not changed by its presence. These facts suggest that nitrite induces inhibition of catalase with no change in the essence of the enzymatic process. Even micromolar nitrite concentrations induced a considerable decrease in catalase activity. However, in the absence of chloride, bromide, and thiocyanate inhibition was not observed. In contrast, fluoride protected catalase from nitrite inhibition in the presence of the above-mentioned halides and pseudohalide. As hydrogen peroxide is a necessary factor for triggering a number of important toxic effects of nitrite, the latter increases its toxicity by inhibiting catalase. This was shown by the example of nitrite-induced hemoglobin oxidation. The naturally existing gradient of chloride and other anion concentrations between intra- and extracellular media appears to be the most important mechanism of cell protection from inhibition of intracellular catalase by nitrite. Possible mechanisms of this inhibition are discussed.
KEY WORDS: nitrite, halide ions, catalase, calorimetry