Nitric Oxide: A Review for Veterinary Surgeons Academic Article uri icon


  • Nitric oxide (NO) is an endogenous gas that serves as a biologic messenger in many physiologic processes including neurotransmission, blood-pressure control, the immune system's ability to kill tumor cells, and wound healing. NO is produced after oxidation of L-arginine by a family of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzymes. Two of the NOS enzymes are present continuously and are thereby termed constitutive NOS. One of the enzymes, inducible NOS, is not typically expressed in resting cells and is induced by various substances including endotoxin, some cytokines, and microbial products. Thus, NO often has paradoxical activities. When NO is over- or underproduced, it can result in potentiation of disease states with disastrous results. This review discusses the biochemistry of NO, its functions in normal and disease states, and therapy for modulating NO production in disease states.

author list (cited authors)

  • Howe, L. M., & Boothe, H. W.

citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • February 2001