NO generation from inorganic nitrate and nitrite: Role in physiology, nutrition and therapeutics

Arch Pharm Res. 2009 Aug;32(8):1119-26. doi: 10.1007/s12272-009-1803-z. Epub 2009 Aug 29.


The nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway is emerging as a likely regulator of physiological functions in the gastrointestinal tract and in the cardiovascular system. In particular, it might serve as a backup system to ensure NO like bioactivity also in situations when the endogenous L-arginine/NO synthase pathway is dysfunctional. In addition, this alternative pathway can be harnessed therapeutically in prevention and treatment of disease. Finally, there is an intriguing nutritional aspect to this, since the major supply of nitrate and nitrite in our bodies comes from our everyday diet. Here we review recent advances in this exciting area of research.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / drug therapy
  • Nitrates / physiology*
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / physiology
  • Nitrites / metabolism*
  • Nitrites / therapeutic use
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena


  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase