Concluding Remarks

Nitrite, its oxidized form, nitrate, and its reduced form, NO, are bioactive molecules involved in the life cycle of all organisms. In humans, nitrite contributes to host defense mechanism against a number of pathogenic microorganisms in the mouth, stomach and skin. The addition of nitrite to meat for preservation is responsible for the characteristic color and flavor of meat, and helps combat the decay of cured meats. DNIC, which has been found in all of these tissues, cells and bacteria, has a characteristic, readily identifiable EPR signal, suggesting that it may be used as a paramagnetic biomarker for the anti-microbial and cytotoxic actions of nitrite.

The antimicrobial and cytotoxic actions of nitrite ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The author thanks Drs. K. Iijima, T. Ueno, K. Asanuma and N. Ara of Tohoku University School of Medicine for their contributions and Dr. Y. Kotake of Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation for valuable comments and criticism of the manuscript. The work was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (17550146) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and for Scientific Research on Priority Areas "Application of Molecular Spins" (15087212) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

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