NO and the vasculature: Where does it come from and what does it do?
Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
Nitric oxide (NO) is involved in a large number of cellular processes and dysfunctions in NO production have been implicated in many different disease states. In the vasculature NO is released by endothelial cells where it modulates the underlying smooth muscle to regulate vascular tone. Due to the unique chemistry of NO, such as its reactive and free radical nature, it can interact with many different cellular constituents such as thiols and transition metal ions, which determine its cellular actions. In this review we also discuss many of the useful pharmacological tools that have been developed and used extensively to establish the involvement of NO in endothelium-derived relaxations. In addition, the recent literature identifying a potential source of NO in endothelial cells, which is not directly derived from endothelial nitric oxide synthase is examined. Finally, the photorelaxation phenomena, which mediates the release of NO from a vascular smooth muscle NO store, is discussed.