Mutations in mitochondrial DNA, affecting the activity of respiratory complexes, have been implicated in many chronic degenerative diseases. Mitochondrial proteins coded for by both the mitochondrial and nuclear genes are known to have important signaling roles in apoptosis. However, the impact of the inhibition of mitochondrial protein synthesis on apoptosis is largely unknown. This inhibition is particularly important in NO-dependent cytotoxicity, which is believed to have a significant mitochondrial component and depend on other factors such as glycolysis. In this study we have examined whether the inhibition of mitochondrial protein synthesis by chloramphenicol increases the susceptibility of endothelial cells to undergo NO-dependent apoptosis in glucose-free media. Bovine aortic endothelial cells were treated with chloramphenicol, which resulted in a decreased ratio of mitochondrial complex IV to cytochrome c and increased oxidant production in the cell. Inhibition of mitochondrial protein synthesis was associated with a greater susceptibility of the cells to apoptosis induced by NO in glucose-free medium.