Signals for the induction of nitric oxide synthase in astrocytes

Neurochem Int. 2006 Jul;49(2):154-63. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2006.04.007. Epub 2006 Jun 5.


Nitric oxide (NO), being a double-edged sword depending on its concentration in the microenvironment, is involved in both physiological and pathological processes of many organ systems including brain and spinal cord. It is now well-documented that once inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is expressed in CNS in a signal-dependent fashion, NO in excess of physiological thresholds is produced and this excess NO then plays a role in the pathogenesis of stroke, demyelination and other neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, a keen interest has been generated in recent years in comprehending the regulation of this enzyme in brain cells. The present review summarizes our current understanding of signaling mechanisms leading to transcription of the iNOS gene in activated astrocytes. We attempt this comprehension with a hope to identify potential targets to intervene NO-mediated CNS disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / enzymology*
  • Brain Diseases / enzymology*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Central Nervous System / enzymology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / drug effects
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation / genetics


  • Transcription Factors
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II