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Indian J Pediatr. 1998 May-Jun;65(3):333-45.

Nitric oxide: biological role and clinical uses.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary PathoBiology, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, St. Paul 55108, USA.


Nitric oxide is a product of the conversion of L-arginine by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase. Nitric oxide is involved in a variety of physiological situations and is produced by many different cell types. It is involved in neurotransmission, maintenance of vascular smooth muscle tone, and cytotoxicity. Nitric oxide has been suggested to play an anti-inflammatory role by inhibiting the expression of the genes for inflammatory cytokines. The pathophysiological role of nitric oxide is also evident in a variety of diseases, including septic shock, asthma, reperfusion injury, etc. Nitric oxide, by stimulating the production of cyclic GMP, relaxes smooth muscles of the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and genito-urinary systems. Recent studies have provided important information on the use of inhaled nitric oxide for the management of several diseases characterized by the presence of abnormal pulmonary vascular tone, such as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. This review addresses the biology and clinical uses of inhaled nitric oxide.

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