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Nature’s Nitric Oxide Effect

Why the Discovery of Nitric Oxide Won the Nobel Prize

The discovery of nitric oxide function in the human body is one of the most important discoveries in recent medical/scientific history.  It is fast becoming one of the most studied molecules ever, with scientific literature growing exponentially.  The importance of nitric oxide was made even more evident when three Pharmacologists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1998 for their research in nitric oxide.  Professor Sten Lindahl of the Nobel Committee stated in his presentation speech, "Your discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system…has opened new avenues for patient treatment and diagnoses of various diseases." 

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Vascular nitric oxide: Beyond eNOS

  As the first discovered gaseous signaling molecule, nitric oxide (NO) affects a number of cellular processes, including those involving vascular cells. This brief review summarizes the contribution of NO to the regulation of vascular tone and its sources in the blood vessel wall. NO regulates the degree of contraction of vascular smooth muscle cells mainly by stimulating soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) to produce cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), although cGMP-independent signaling [S-nitrosylation of target proteins, activation of sarco/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA) or production of cyclic inosine monophosphate (cIMP)] also can be involved.

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L-arginine: a Primer for its power © by J. Joseph Prendergast, MD

In the beginning, Dr. Robert Furchgott in 1980 found that the endothelial lining of the walls of blood vessels made a substance that kept the vessels smooth and dilated. This was Nitric Oxide (NO). Soon it was discovered that l-arginine converts to NO in the endothelium. I learned about l-arginine in 1991 when I was in a professional association teaching physicians with Victor J. Dzau, MD when he was director of Cardiovascular Research at Stanford University Medical Center." 

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L-arginine from the viewpoint of evidence-based medicine

  Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid, first isolated in 1886 by E. Schulze and E. Steiger; its structure was determined by E. Schulze and E. Winterstein in 1897. The average daily consumption of L-arginine is 5.4 g. The physiological requirements of tissues and organs in most mammals of arginine are met by its endogenous synthesis and/or dietary intake; however, in the young and in adults in stress or disease this amino acid becomes essential.

Arginine is an important precursor for the synthesis of proteins and many biologically active molecules, such as ornithine, proline, polyamines, creatine and agmatine However, the main function of arginine in human body is to be a substrate for the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO) (Visek W.J., 1986; Wu G., Morris S.M. Jr., 1998; Böger R.H., 2007).

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Cutaneous microcirculation in the neuropathic diabetic foot improves significantly but not completely after successful lower extremity revascularization

   Objective: The purpose of this study was the examination of the effect of successful large vessel revascularization on the microcirculation of the neuroischemic diabetic foot.

Research design and methods: We measured the cutaneous microvascular reactivity in the foot in 13 patients with diabetes with peripheral arterial disease and neuropathy (group DI) before and 4 to 6 weeks after successful lower extremity arterial revascularization. We also compared them with age-matched and sex-matched groups of 15 patients with diabetes and neuropathy, seven patients without neuropathy, and 12 healthy patients for control. ....

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L-arginine does not improve biochemical and hormonal response in trained runners after four weeks of supplementation

   It has been hypothesized that L-arginine improves exercise performance by increasing nitric oxide synthesis and levels of insulin and growth hormone (GH). Metabolic and hormonal responses to chronic L-arginine supplementation may clarify the mechanisms underlying its putative physiologic effects on physical performance. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effects that 4 weeks of supplementation with L-arginine would have on metabolic and hormonal parameters at rest and in response to exercise.

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