The Dark Side of Nitric Oxide

The importance of the nitric oxide pathway in human physiology came about with the discovery in the 1980s that it was the primary mechanism for dilation of blood vessels, vasodilation. Up until then, nitric oxide was a gaseous pollutant, a by product of industrial activity. Please don’t confuse nitric oxide, with nitrous oxide, or more commonly known as “laughing gas”. They are two very different substances; so for the rest of this post I’m going to use the official abbreviation NO when I refer to nitric oxide so you don’t think about laughing gas.

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