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Biochemistry of Nitric Oxide

By Safia Habib and Asif Ali


Nitric oxide (NO) a free radical having both cytoprotective as well as tumor promoting agent is formed from l-arginine by converting it to l-citrulline via nitric oxide synthase enzymes. The reaction product of nitric oxide with superoxide generates potent oxidizing agent, peroxynitrite which is the main mediator of tissue and cellular injury. Peroxynitrite is reactive towards many biomolecules which includes amino acids, nucleic acid bases; metal containing compounds, etc. NO metabolites may play a key role in mediating many of the genotoxic/carcinogenic effects as DNA damage, protein or lipid modification, etc. The basic reactions of nitric oxide can be divided as direct effect of the radical where it alone plays a role in either damaging or protecting the cell milieu and an indirect effect in which the byproducts of nitric oxide formed by convergence of two independent radical generating pathways play the role in biological reactions which mainly involve oxidative and nitrosative stress. Nitric oxide is also capable of directly interacting with mitochondria through inhibition of respiration or by permeability transition. Reaction of nitric oxide with metal ions include its direct interaction with the metals or with oxo complexes thereby reducing them to lower valent state. Excessive production of nitric oxide can be studied by inhibiting the synthetic pathway of nitric oxide using both selective or specific nitric oxide synthase inhibitor or non-selective nitric oxide synthase inhibitor with respect to isoforms of nitric oxide

Topics: Review Article
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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