NO Donors / Precursors

Supporting information

Nitric Oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule that is involved in both physiological and pathological processes. Nitric oxide donors and precursors, as the name suggests, provide a functional NO group that can be involved in nitric oxide signaling pathways.

Nitric oxide is an autocrine and paracrine signaling molecule that can diffuse through biological membranes. It has a very short duration of action (a few seconds) and its main physiological function is to contribute to the homeostasis of the vasculature. Nitric oxide inhibits smooth muscle contraction and growth, inhibits platelet aggregation and prevents leukocyte-endothelial adhesion. Nitric oxide is also involved in immune defence; it is generated by phagocytes and destroys bacteria through its action as a free radical. Targets of nitric oxide include guanylyl cyclase, which increase cGMP levels and NF-κB, which acts as a transcription factor in iNOS gene expression.

Perturbations in nitric oxide levels and signaling has been shown to occur in some disease states. People with diabetes tend to have lower global levels of nitric oxide and atherosclerotic blood vessels have impaired nitric oxide signaling pathways.

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