Nitric Oxide Derived from Perivascular Nerves and Endothelium
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.
KeywordsArginine Histamine Prostaglandin Noradrenaline Glucocorticoid
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