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Nitric oxide: promiscuous and duplicitous

Paul B. Lane, Steven S. Gross
From: Science & Medicine: Volume 8 Number 2: Page 96 (April 2002)

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Abstract: Nitric oxide is a simple gaseous molecule that performs a wide range of physiologic functions. But within given tissues, reports may describe opposing biological effects for NO. This confusing array of activities attributed to NO can be related to the interconversion of NO's redox forms, differences in the cellular microenvironment, and the presence of many alternative protein targets. NO can adopt several chemical forms, and reactions can yield additional secondary chemical forms. These different forms each can interact with multiple proteins, giving NO the capability of controlling a vast range of biological functions. The diversity of reaction products and targets reconciles NO's apparently conflicting biological effects.

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