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Trends Neurosci. 1999 Mar;22(3):109-16.

Sight and insight--on the physiological role of nitric oxide in the visual system.

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E.U. Fisioterapia, Universidade Da Coruña, Centro Universitario de Oza, Spain.


Research in the fields of cellular communication and signal transduction in the brain has moved very rapidly in recent years. Nitric oxide (NO) is one of the latest discoveries in the arena of messenger molecules. Current evidence indicates that, in visual system, NO is produced in both postsynaptic and presynaptic structures and acts as a neurotransmitter, albeit of a rather unorthodox type. Under certain conditions it can switch roles to become either neuronal 'friend' or 'foe'. Nitric oxide is a gas that diffuses through all physiological barriers to act on neighbouring cells across an extensive volume on a specific time scale. It, therefore,has the opportunity to control the processing of vision from the lowest level of retinal transduction to the control of neuronal excitability in the visual cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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