Pathophysiological role of Akt and endothelial nitric oxide synthase in cirrhosis
Due to the fact that nitric oxide (NO) is a component of air pollution, produced in lightning and also a by-product of microbial metabolism, this substance has been the focus of environmental and microbiological research for many years. However the original clues for a biological role of NO came from studies suggesting the implication of this gas as the active component of nitroglycerin1, which has long been used in the treatment of angina pectoris because of its vasoactive properties. In 1980 Furchgott et al. described a labile and diffusible substance produced by endothelial cells responsible for acetylcholine-dependent blood vessel relaxation2. It was not until a few years later when the two discoveries were connected by Palmer et al.3 and Ignarro et al.4. They published the first evidence that the biological activity of NO was indistinguishable from that of endothelium-derived relaxing factor described by Furchgott et al. These first observations awakened great interest among the scientific community, and generated an enormous amount of literature that culminated in 1992 with the nomination of “Molecule of the Year” by Science journal5. In addition, in 1998 the investigators Robert Furchgott, Ferid Murad, and Louis Ignarro were awarded the Nobel Prize for their research on the effects of NO on blood vessels.
KeywordsNitric Oxide Portal Hypertension Portal Pressure Bile Duct Ligation Portal Blood Flow
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