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Heart Fail Rev. 2002 Oct;7(4):385-9.

Nitric oxide in heart failure: friend or foe.

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  • 1Walter Mackenzie Helath Sciences Centre, Cardiology Division of the Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Nitric oxide (NO) is a controversial molecule. It is either beneficial or deleterious. As with NO donors, one reason for this duality is related to the dose. Small doses are highly beneficial, maintaining blood flow in vessels and blood pressure, and protecting against foreign invaders. In high doses, it results in hypotension, forms peroxynitrite which is cytotoxic, and contributes to heart failure.

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