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Nitric oxide—Important messenger in human body

Author(s): Martina Antosova | Jana Plevkova | Anna Strapkova | Tomas Buday

Journal: Open Journal of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
ISSN 2162-2159

Volume: 02;
Issue: 03;
Start page: 98;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Nitric Oxide | Physiology | Signaling

General idea of this comprehensive review is to summarize information about the role of nitric oxide in the human body—cardiovascular, respiratory, urgenital, gut, NO and immune system, however, NO signaling has a role also in musculoskeletal system, even in bones. NO in the past had been recognized as a molecule relevant to air pollution. In 1980 Furchgott and Zawadzki identified new messenger molecule within the endothelial cells with vasodilating potential and they named it endothelium derived relaxing factor (EDRF). Seven years later the role of NO as a relaxing factor was definitely proven. The fact of gas, being produced by cells, crossing membranes of neighboring cells and having a character of signal brought a brand new insight to the signaling physiology. The breakthrough in the NO history was in 1992, when it was assigned as “molecule of the year”. Role of NO was defined mainly in the cardiovascular sys-tem, but as the research expanded, the ultimate func-tion, and mechanism of action, dual effect of NO had been identified in all systems of human body. NO in low concentrations considerably regulates the physiological functions, but in high concentration may contribute to the pathogenetic process. Knowledge the physiology of NO signaling cascades could have clinical application, mainly considering therapeutic poten-tial of NO donors, or antagonists of NO-synthases. This molecule has undoubtedly huge future potential.
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