Endothelium-Derived Nitric Oxide as an Antiatherogenic Mechanism: Implications for Therapy

Methodist Debakey Cardiovasc J. Jul-Sep 2015;11(3):166-71. doi: 10.14797/mdcj-11-3-166.


Endothelium-derived nitric oxide (eNO) is a multifunctional signaling molecule critically involved in the maintenance of metabolic and cardiovascular homeostasis. In addition to its role as a potent endogenous vasodilator, eNO suppresses key processes in vascular lesion formation and opposes atherogenesis. This review discusses eNO as an antiatherogenic molecule and highlights factors that influence its bioavailability and therapeutic approaches to restore or enhance its levels.

Keywords: antiatherogenic; asymmetric dimethylarginine; atherosclerosis; dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase; endothelial nitric oxide synthase; endothelium; nitric oxide; vascular dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Atherosclerosis / enzymology*
  • Atherosclerosis / genetics
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Atherosclerosis / physiopathology
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / enzymology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Humans
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism*
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic
  • Signal Transduction* / drug effects
  • Vasodilation


  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Nitric Oxide
  • NOS3 protein, human
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III