Nitric oxide: mediator, murderer, and medicine

Lancet. 1994 May 14;343(8907):1199-206. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(94)92405-8.


In the past ten years several research fields have converged to show that the tiny molecule nitric oxide (NO), a reactive gas, functions both as a signalling molecule in endothelial and nerve cells and as a killer molecule by activated immune cells--and it can be used as a new medicine by inhalation. This article reviews the biology of this remarkable molecule and discusses the implications for clinical medicine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena
  • Digestive System Physiological Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology*
  • Shock / physiopathology


  • Nitric Oxide