Original Research

Nitric oxide and the nervous system

H. S. Meij
Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif vir Natuurwetenskap en Tegnologie | Vol 15, No 2 | a634 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/satnt.v15i2.634 | © 1996 H. S. Meij | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 July 1996 | Published: 10 July 1996

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H. S. Meij,, South Africa

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Abstract

It was discovered fairly recently that nitric oxide (NO), a poisonous gas molecule, can act as a cellular messenger in biological systems. In the human body it is produced and released by several types of cells in a number of different organs, and it appar­ently plays a fundamental part in the functions of almost all the body systems. Nitric oxide seems to be significantly involved in the cardiovascular system (especially in vasodilation), the defence systems of the body (destruction of pathogens) and in the nervous system as neurotransmitter and -modulator. In this short review aspects regarding the synthesis and possible actions of NO are described, and the importance of this gas molecule in the nervous system is summarised.

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