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Nitrogen Monoxide (Nitric Oxide): Bioinorganic Chemistry

  1. Jack R. Lancaster Jr,
  2. Gregory I. Giles

Published Online: 15 DEC 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781119951438.eibc0145

Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Lancaster, J. R. and Giles, G. I. 2011. Nitrogen Monoxide (Nitric Oxide): Bioinorganic Chemistry. Encyclopedia of Inorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2011


In only the last 20 years, Nitric oxide (NO, nitrogen monoxide), one of the smallest and simplest molecules in Nature, has been found to be involved in an astounding number of mammalian physiological and pathophysiological phenomena. The importance of NO as a messenger molecule in the cardiovascular system was recognized in 1998 by the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and over 70000 papers have appeared involving NO in biology. The simplicity of its chemical structure stands in stark contrast to the complexity of its biological actions, including its “Janus-faced” character as both beneficial and detrimental. This chapter is an overview of the history of this discovery, the fundamental chemistry of NO and its derivatives in the biological environment, and the multiple biological actions of NO.


  • nitric oxide;
  • nitrogen monoxide;
  • metals and metalloproteins;
  • free radicals;
  • oxidation;
  • nitrosation;
  • nitration;
  • nitrosylation;
  • diffusion