Nitric Oxide Derived from Perivascular Nerves and Endothelium

  • Tomio Okamura
  • Noboru Toda
Part of the Nitric Oxide in Biology and Medicine book series (NOBM, volume 1)


Endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) was discovered by Furchgott and Zawadzki (1980), who observed that acetylcholine-induced relaxation of the isolated rabbit aorta was endothelium-dependent and that vascular smooth muscle directly responded to acetylcholine with slight contraction. The discovery brought us the marvelous idea that vascular endothelium influences not only the blood stream but also the smooth muscle cells, thus participating in the regulation of platelet aggregation and adhesion and of vascular tone. In 1988 EDRF was identified as nitric oxide (NO), a highly diffusible and short-lived free radical, synthesized by NO synthase from L-arginine (Palmer et al. 1988a). Specific inhibitors of NO synthase (NOS), introduced by Palmer et al. (1988b), enabled us to clarify the physiological roles of endogenous NO. This lipophilic gas molecule is now recognized to be a new intercellular messenger not only in the circulatory system but also in the central nervous and immune systems.


Nitric Oxide Nitric Oxide Cerebral Artery Temporal Artery Cereb Blood Flow 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomio Okamura
  • Noboru Toda

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