Related topics: high blood pressure · blood vessels

Understanding the utility of plasmas for medical applications

Plasma medicine is an emerging field, as plasmas show promise for use in a wide range of therapies from wound healing to cancer treatment. Plasma jets are the main plasma sources typically used in plasma-surface applications. ...

Biofriendly protocells pump up blood vessels

An international team comprising researchers from the University of Bristol, and Hunan and Central South Universities in China, have prepared biocompatible protocells that generate nitric oxide gas—a known reagent for blood ...

When methane-eating microbes eat ammonia instead

As a side effect of their metabolism, microorganisms living on methane can also convert ammonia. In the process, they produce nitric oxide (NO), a central molecule in the global nitrogen cycle. Scientists from the Max Planck ...

Methane-eating bacteria like nitrogen, too

Methane-eating bacteria can degrade ammonium in addition to methane, as discovered by microbiologists at Radboud University and the Max Planck Institute in Bremen. Methane-eaters are important for the reduction of greenhouses ...

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Nitric oxide

Nitric oxide or nitrogen monoxide is a chemical compound with chemical formula NO. This gas is an important signaling molecule in the body of mammals, including humans, and is an extremely important intermediate in the chemical industry. It is also an air pollutant produced by cigarette smoke, automobile engines and power plants.

NO is an important messenger molecule involved in many physiological and pathological processes within the mammalian body both beneficial and detrimental. Appropriate levels of NO production are important in protecting an organ such as the liver from ischemic damage. However sustained levels of NO production result in direct tissue toxicity and contribute to the vascular collapse associated with septic shock, whereas chronic expression of NO is associated with various carcinomas and inflammatory conditions including juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and ulcerative colitis.

Nitric oxide should not be confused with nitrous oxide (N2O), a general anaesthetic and greenhouse gas, or with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which is another air pollutant. The nitric oxide molecule is a free radical, which is relevant to understanding its high reactivity.

Despite being a simple molecule, NO is a fundamental player in the fields of neuroscience, physiology, and immunology, and was proclaimed “Molecule of the Year” in 1992.

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