Neuroprotective properties of nitric oxide and S-nitrosoglutathione

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2005 Sep 1;207(2 Suppl):91-5. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2005.02.028.


Oxidative stress and apoptosis may play an important role in the neurodegeneration. The present paper outlines antioxidative and antiapototic mechanisms of nitric oxide and S-nitrosothiols, which could mediate neuroprotection. Nitric oxide generated by nitric oxide synthase or released from an endogenous S-nitrosothiol, S-nitrosoglutathione may up-regulate antioxidative thioredoxin system and antiapototic Bcl-2 protein through a cGMP-dependent mechanism. Moreover, nitric oxide radicals have been shown to have direct antioxidant effect through their reaction with free radicals and iron-oxygen complexes. In addition to serving as a stabilizer and carrier of nitric oxide, S-nitrosoglutathione may have protective effect through transnitrosylation reactions. Based on these new findings, a hypothesis arises that the homeostasis of nitric oxide, S-nitrosothiols, glutathione, and thioredoxin systems is important for protection against oxidative stress, apoptosis, and related neurodegenerative disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cyclic GMP / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Nitric Oxide / pharmacology*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • S-Nitrosoglutathione / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Nitric Oxide
  • S-Nitrosoglutathione
  • Cyclic GMP