18-Nitro-oxyandrostenedione (18-ONO2A), a potential mechanism-based inhibitor of the last steps of aldosterone biosynthesis, is well recognized by different cytochrome P-450s, which are able to metabolize it reductively into nitric oxide (NO) and 18-hydroxyandrostenedione. Rat liver microsomal P-450s are able to carry out this reaction with increased efficiency under anaerobic conditions. P-450 3A isozymes induced upon treatment of rats with dexamethasone or troleandomycin were best able to bind and metabolize 18-ONO2A. This reaction was shown to occur in the presence of dioxygen as well, suggesting that it may be of physiological relevance. The formation of NO was detected as a transient P-450-Fe(II)NO complex by UV-visible and EPR spectroscopy. In addition, steroidogenic tissues containing cytochrome P-450s such as bovine adrenal mitochondria or human placental microsomes also were capable of binding and metabolizing 18-ONO2A as judged by the formation of an Fe(II)NO complex. This recognition of a steroid nitrate, a potential antialdosterone and its subsequent metabolism under reductive conditions to generate NO both in hepatic and steroidogenic tissues, can be of pharmacological interest, because NO has been demonstrated to modulate steroidogenesis in addition to other processes such as vascular relaxation, neurotransmission or cytostasis. A nitrate derivative of a steroid could perhaps act as a vectorized NO precursor in which the steroid moiety is targeted specifically to steroid receptors or steroidogenic tissues, thus leading to localized NO liberation.