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Front Biosci. 2004 Sep 1;9:3434-46.

Real time and in vivo monitoring of nitric oxide by electrochemical sensors--from dream to reality.

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Department of Chemistry, World Precision Instruments, Inc., 175 Sarasota Center Boulevard, Sarasota, Fl 34240, USA.


Nitric oxide is a key intercellular messenger in the human and animal bodies. The identification of nitric oxide (NO) as the endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) has driven an enormous effort to further elucidate the chemistry, biology and therapeutic actions of this important molecule. It has found that nitric oxide is involved in many disease states such as such as chronic heart failure, stroke, impotent (erectile dysfunction). The bioactivity of nitric oxide intrinsically linked to its diffusion from its site production to the sites of action. Accurate reliable in real time detection of NO in various biological systems is therefore crucial to understanding its biological role. However, the instability of NO in aqueous solution and its high reactivity with other molecules can cause difficulties for its measurement depending on the detection method employed. Although a variety of methods have been described to measure NO in aqueous environments, it is now generally accepted that electrochemical (amperometric) detection using NO-specific electrodes is the most reliable and sensitive technique available for real-time in situ detection of NO. In 1992 the first commercial NO electrode-based amperometric detection system was developed by WPI. The system has been used successfully for a number of years in a wide range of research applications, both in vitro and in vivo. Recently, many new electrochemical nitric sensors have been invented and commercialized. Here we describe some of the background principles in NO sensors design, methodology and their applications.

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