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Keywords:

  • nitric oxide;
  • nitric oxide synthases;
  • glucocorticoids;
  • cyclosporin;
  • nuclear factor KB;
  • tetrahydrobiopterin;
  • L-arginine

Abstract

In recent years, NO, a gas previously considered a potentially toxic chemical, has become established as a diffusible universal messenger mediating cell—cell communication throughout the body. In mammals, NO is a recognized mediator of blood vessel relaxation that helps to maintain blood pressure. In the central nervous system NO acts as a non-conventional neurotransmitter and participates in the establishment of long-term plasticity required for memory formation. In addition, NO is responsible for some parts of the host response to sepsis and inflammation and contributes to certain disease states. A number of strategies have emerged with regard to a pharmacological control of pathological NO overproductions. This review will discuss these novel therapeutic approaches that may provide new means for clinical medicine.