Production and functional roles of nitric oxide in the proximal tubule

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2000 May;278(5):R1117-24. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.2000.278.5.R1117.


A significant role for nitric oxide (NO) in proximal tubule physiology and pathophysiology has been revealed by a series of in vivo and in vitro studies. Whether the proximal tubule produces NO under basal conditions is still controversial; however, evidence suggests that the proximal tubule is constantly exposed to NO that might include NO from nonproximal tubule sources. When challenged with a variety of stimuli, including hypoxia, the proximal tubule is able to produce large quantities of NO. In vivo studies generally indicate that NO inhibits fluid and sodium reabsorption by the proximal tubule. However, the final effect of NO on proximal tubular reabsorption appears to depend on the concentration of NO and involve interaction with other regulatory mechanisms. NO regulates Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase, Na(+)/H(+) exchangers, and paracellular permeability of proximal tubular cells, which may contribute to its effect on proximal tubular transport. Enhanced production of NO, perhaps depending on macrophage type inducible NO synthase, participates in hypoxic/ischemic proximal tubular injury. In conclusion, NO plays a fundamental role in both physiology and pathophysiology of the proximal tubule.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Ischemia
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / blood supply
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis*
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Reperfusion Injury
  • Sodium / metabolism


  • Nitric Oxide
  • Sodium