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J Endocrinol. 2011 Sep;210(3):259-69. doi: 10.1530/JOE-11-0034. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

eNOS activation and NO function: differential control of steroidogenesis by nitric oxide and its adaptation with hypoxia.

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Center for Perinatal Biology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA.


Nitric oxide (NO) plays a role in a wide range of physiological processes. Aside from its widely studied function in the regulation of vascular function, NO has been shown to impact steroidogenesis in a number of different tissues. The goal of this review is to explore the effects of NO on steroid production and further, to discern its source(s) and mechanism of action. Attention will be given to the regulation of NO synthases in specific endocrine tissues including ovaries, testes, and adrenal glands. The effects of hypoxia on generation of NO and subsequent effects on steroid biosynthesis will also be examined. Finally, a potential model for the interaction of hypoxia on NO synthesis and steroid production is proposed.

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