Nitric oxide regulates multiple functions and fate of adult progenitor and stem cells

J Physiol Biochem. 2015 Mar;71(1):141-53. doi: 10.1007/s13105-014-0373-9. Epub 2014 Dec 20.


Nitric oxide is an endogenous gas which exerts autocrine/paracrine actions by different signaling pathways and/or direct interactions with intracellular compounds and structures. Several processes are regulated by nitric oxide in stem cells including self-renewal, viability, migration, proliferation, and differentiation. The modulation of cell functions depends on its concentrations because opposite effects can be observed when low and high levels of nitric oxide are compared. Here, the responses to nitric oxide of adult stem/progenitor cells which are often used in regenerative medicine, including mesenchymal stem cells, hematopoietic stem cells, neural stem cells, endothelial progenitor cells, satellite cells, and fibro-adipogenic precursor cells, are reviewed. Therapeutic strategies which employ drugs releasing nitric oxide or modulating nitric oxide intracellular pathways are suggested to perform new ex vivo preconditioning or in vivo treatments suitable for stem/progenitor cell therapy and tissue engineering applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Adult Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*


  • Nitric Oxide