Rapid determination of nitrite by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection Academic Article uri icon


  • Measurement of nitrite and nitrate, the stable oxidation products of nitric oxide (NO), provides a useful tool to study NO synthesis in vivo and in cell cultures. A simple and rapid fluorometric HPLC method was developed for determination of nitrite through its derivatization with 2,3-diaminonaphthalene (DAN). Nitrite, in standard solution, cell culture medium, or biological samples, readily reacted with DAN under acidic conditions to yield the highly fluorescent 2,3-naphthotriazole (NAT). For analysis of nitrate, it was converted to nitrite by nitrate reductase, followed by the derivatization of nitrite with DAN to form NAT. NAT was separated on a 5-microm reversed-phase C18 column (150X4.6 mm, I.D.) guarded by a 40-microm reversed-phase C18 column (50x4.6 mm, I.D.), and eluted with 15 mM sodium phosphate buffer (pH 7.5) containing 50% methanol (flow-rate, 1.3 ml/min). Fluorescence was monitored with excitation at 375 nm and emission at 415 nm. Mean retention time for NAT was 4.4 min. The fluorescence intensity of NAT was linear with nitrite or nitrate concentrations ranging from 12.5 to 2,000 nM in water, cell culture media, plasma and urine. The detection limit for nitrite and nitrate was 10 pmol/ml. Because NAT is well separated from DAN and other fluorescent components present in biological samples, our HPLC method offers the advantages of high sensitivity and specificity as well as easy automation for quantifying picomole levels of nitrite and nitrate in cell culture medium and biological samples.

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, H., Meininger, C. J., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 108
  • 112

publication date

  • September 2000