The History of Nitric Oxide
Nitric Oxide (NO) was first prepared in 1620 and first studied in 1720. It was poorly understood until the late 1900s. The discovery of the role of NO as fundamental to biologic function was so remarkable that hundreds of research papers led Nitric Oxide to be proclaimed "molecule of the year" in 1992 by the journal Science. Three NO researchers shared the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery that what had previously been known as EDRF (endothelium-derived relaxing factor) was, in fact, NO (13,14).
Evidence of its fundamental role in initiating and modulating a large number of physiological processes began to emerge when scientists from distinct disciplines—immunology, cardiovascular physiology, and oncology—suddenly understood that they were studying the same molecule.
Nitric Oxide is highly reactive and diffuses freely across membranes but has a lifetime of only a few seconds. This combination of properties makes it an ideal signaling molecule both between adjacent cells and within a single cell.
Nitric Oxide: Scientific Rationale
As scientific knowledge about Nitric Oxide has grown along with a deeper understanding of its pervasive nature across so many pathways, there has been a significant focus on Nitric Oxide in the pharmaceutical industry, helping to create blockbuster drugs such as Viagra®. Delivery of Nitric Oxide and Nitric Oxide pathway modulators range from systemic oral administration and gaseous inhalation to topical application via donor carrier molecules and now, targeted therapy by plasma-generation technology, IonoJet™.
Nitric Oxide Enhances Blood Flow
Blood vessel regulation (1,9,10,11).
Blood vessel relaxation and dilation
Increased oxygen to tissues
Reduced factors that cause blood clots
Increased growth of new blood vessels
Nitric Oxide is a Potent Anti-Infective
Anti-microbial action (4-8)
Covalent binding to microbial DNA, proteins, and lipids
Activation of macrophage cytotoxicity
Active against multiple types of microorganisms
Nitric Oxide Modulates the Immune System
Immune system modulation (1-4)
Regulation of immune cell activity and recruitment
Modulation of cytokine and chemokine expression
Nitric Oxide Encourages Tissue Regeneration
Tissue regeneration (3,9)
Fibroblast migration and collagen deposition