A new fluorescence method is introduced in which nitric oxide (NO)-derived higher-order oxygen complexes (NO(x)) are quantified at physiological pH. Detecting the fluorescence lifetime shift between 2,3-diaminonaphthalene and the NO(x)-derived protonated 2,3-naphthotriazole allows an intensity independent determination of the NO(x) concentration. The NO release from LPS and IFNγ-stimulated murine macrophages and iNOS transfected hamster cells was quantified. The lower detection limit for NO was found to be 800 pmol/ml. Since the influence of static fluorescence quenching due to cellular components can be neglected, the method is applicable for clear cellular supernatants as well as turbid cellular suspensions.