- Nitric oxide is a naturally occurring molecule found in a variety of cell types and organ systems. In the cardiovascular system, NO is an important determinant of basal vascular tone, prevents platelet activation, limits leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium, and regulates myocardial contractility. NO may also play a role in the pathogenesis of common cardiovascular disorders, including hypotension accompanying shock states, essential hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
- It was first identified as endothelial-derived relaxing factor in blood vessels and as the mediator of the bactericidal actions of macrophages. NO’s role as a neural messenger may be even more prominent. NO is a likely transmitter of nonadrenergic, noncholinergic neurons. Excess release of NO appears to account for a major portion of neural damage following vascular stroke.
- Nitric oxide is a cytotoxic agent of macrophages, a messenger molecule of neurons, and a vasodilator produced by endothelial cells.
- Nitric Oxide has been shown to be a mediator of Erectile function.
- NO is a critical determinant of basal vascular tone, and a deficiency of NO is associated with hypertension.
- Common disorders that promote atherosclerosis, such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and diabetes, are all associated with abnormal endothelial function. Deficiency of bioactive NO is associated with Abnormal Endothelial Function.
- A deficiency of NO producing neurons in the gastrointestinal tract is believed to be responsible for certain abnormalities in gastrointestinal motility, such as Hirschsprung’s disease, achalasia, and chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.
- Drugs like nitroglycerin, isosorbide mononitrate and dinitrate, and nitroprusside, promote vasodilation and platelet inhibition in dysfunctional coronary arteries by being metabolized to NO.
- NO can be useful in the treatment of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, the pulmonary vasoconstriction that accompanies congenital diaphragmatic hernia, primary pulmonary hypertension, and adult respiratory distress syndrome.