Nitric oxide: a potential inducer of adhesion-related apoptosis--anoikis

Nitric Oxide. 2004 Feb;10(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2004.02.002.


Among the many initiating events that lead to apoptosis or programmed cell death, loss of contact between the cell and the extracellular matrix has been extensively studied. Adhesion-related apoptosis referred to as anoikis is initiated by the action of anti-adhesive substances. Nitric oxide is one of these anti-adhesive substances that have the capacity to signal and trigger pro-apoptotic events in a variety of cell types. Nitric oxide can inhibit cell adhesion, interfere with the assembly of focal adhesion complexes, and disrupt the cell-extracellular matrix interactions. These actions occur in cell that exhibit a dissociation of growth factor signals from alterations in the cytoskeleton, ultimately leading to apoptosis. Since this involves anti-adhesive events, nitric oxide can be considered as causing anoikis. This review article summarizes the available evidence of how nitric oxide participates in apoptosis induced by loss of anchorage (anoikis).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anoikis / drug effects*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / chemistry
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Nitric Oxide