Send to

Choose Destination
Adv Pharmacol. 2016;77:1-27. doi: 10.1016/bs.apha.2016.05.001. Epub 2016 Jun 25.

The Endothelium-Dependent Nitric Oxide-cGMP Pathway.

Author information

School of Medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC, United States; State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, Brazil.
School of Medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC, United States. Electronic address:
School of Medicine, George Washington University, Washington, DC, United States. Electronic address:


Nitric oxide (NO)-cyclic 3'-5' guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signaling plays a critical role on smooth muscle tone, platelet activity, cardiac contractility, renal function and fluid balance, and cell growth. Studies of the 1990s established endothelium dysfunction as one of the major causes of cardiovascular diseases. Therapeutic strategies that benefit NO bioavailability have been applied in clinical medicine extensively. Basic and clinical studies of cGMP regulation through activation of soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) or inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) have resulted in effective therapies for pulmonary hypertension, erectile dysfunction, and more recently benign prostatic hyperplasia. This section reviews (1) how endothelial dysfunction and NO deficiency lead to cardiovascular diseases, (2) how soluble cGMP regulation leads to beneficial effects on disorders of the circulation system, and (3) the epigenetic regulation of NO-sGC pathway components in the cardiovascular system. In conclusion, the discovery of the NO-cGMP pathway revolutionized the comprehension of pathophysiological mechanisms involved in cardiovascular and other diseases. However, considering the expression "from bench to bedside" the therapeutic alternatives targeting NO-cGMP did not immediately follow the marked biochemical and pathophysiological revolution. Some therapeutic options have been effective and released on the market for pulmonary hypertension and erectile dysfunction such as inhaled NO, PDE5 inhibitors, and recently sGC stimulators. The therapeutic armamentarium for many other disorders is expected in the near future. There are currently numerous active basic and clinical research programs in universities and industries attempting to develop novel therapies for many diseases and medical applications.


Cyclic GMP; Endothelial dysfunction; Epigenetic regulation; Guanylate cyclase; Heart failure; Nitric oxide; Nitric oxide synthases; Phosphodiesterase; Pulmonary hypertension

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center