Mehtap Odabaşı1, Ebru Bardaş Özkan2

1Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Rumeli University Faculty of Health Sciences, Istanbul, Türkiye
2Department of Physiology, Erzincan Binali Yıldırım University, Faculty of Medicine, Erzincan, Türkiye

Keywords: Nitric oxide, nitric oxide isoforms, nitric oxide physiopathology, nitric oxide synthase.


Nitric oxide (NO) is a short-lived and highly reactive free radical in nitrogen monoxide structure, formed by the combination of nitrogen (N) and oxygen (O) gases in the atmosphere, and is a molecule that can pass through membranes by diffusion. Due to its lipid solubility feature, it does not require a special carrier, and therefore, when it is released from the vascular endothelium, it can easily pass through the cell membrane and relax in the vascular smooth muscle cells. Nitric oxide is formed by the synthesis of L-arginine, an essential amino acid, as a substrate, by NO synthase enzymes. Endothelial-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) causes relaxation of vascular smooth muscle as it activates soluble guanylyl cyclase and then increases cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) in vascular smooth muscle. It is structurally in the form of a compound containing NO or nitrogen oxide. Additionally, NO is formed from L-arginine by an enzyme bound to calcium-calmodulin and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate. Endothelial-derived relaxing factor functions as a vasodilator that serves as an inhibitor of platelet aggregation and adhesion. Furthermore, EDRF serves as a secondary messenger for guanylyl cyclase activation and cGMP production. The role of EDRF as a secondary messenger extends to diverse cellular contexts, including cardiovascular tissue, respiratory and renal epithelium, macrophages, cerebellar neurons, and adrenocytes. This review comprehensively addresses the structure, biosynthesis, and impact of NO, renowned for its significant influence on intercellular communication and health.

Cite this article as: Odabaşı M, Bardaş Özkan E. The profound influence of nitric oxide on intercellular communication and health. D J Med Sci 2023;9(3):123-132. doi: 10.5606/fng.btd.2023.132.

Author Contributions

Idea, concept, design, analysis, literature review, materials, references and fundings, control/supervision, critical review, data collection and/or processing, interpretation, writing the article: M.O., E.B.Ö.

Data Sharing Statement:
The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/ or publication of this article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article.