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REVIEW: Nitric Oxide and NO-Synthases in Mammals in Different Functional States

E. B. Menshikova1, N. K. Zenkov1, and V. P. Reutov2*

1Research Institute of General Pathology and Human Ecology, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, ul. Akademika Timakova 2, Novosibirsk, 630117 Russia

2Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Butlerova 5a, Moscow, 117865 Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received October 12, 1999; Revision received December 10, 1999
This review deals with the physical and chemical properties of nitric oxide as well as with the mechanisms and enzymes synthesizing this compound in animals including humans. The cytotoxic, vasodilatory, neuromediatory, and other properties of NO are analyzed. Polyfunctionality of NO in the norm and in pathologies of different genesis is shown. It is suggested that the analysis of the mechanisms of cyclic conversion of nitric oxide and the elucidation of the role of all NO metabolism products in living organisms would allow us to approach a more profound understanding of the NO problem in biology and medicine. It is reasonable to think the knowledge obtained in the course of the studies will permit an elaboration of the strategy and tactics of medical treatment of many diseases occurring on the background of disturbance in the mechanisms of formation and utilization of this compound.
KEY WORDS: nitric oxide, nitric oxide cycle, NO-synthases, bioregulation