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Trends Parasitol. 2006 May;22(5):219-25. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

Nitric oxide: an antiparasitic molecule of invertebrates.

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Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 28006 Madrid, Spain and Génetique et Evolution des Maladies Infectieuses (CNRS UMR-IRD 2724), Montpellier 34394, France.


Since Furchgott, Ignarro and Murad won the Nobel prize in 1998 for their work on the role of nitric oxide (NO) as a signaling molecule, many reports have shown the seemingly limitless range of body functions controlled by this compound. In vertebrates, the role of NO as a defense against infection caused by viruses, bacteria, and protozoan and metazoan parasites has been known for several years. New evidence, however, shows that NO is also important in defending invertebrates against parasites. This discovery is a breakthrough in the understanding of how the invertebrate immune system works, and it has implications for the emerging field of invertebrate ecological immunology.

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