Nitric oxide (NO) is a unique biological messenger molecule which mediates diverse physiologic roles. NO mediates blood vessel relaxation by endothelium, immune activity of macrophages and neurotransmission of central and peripheral neurons. NO is produced from three NO Synthase (NOS) isoforms: Neuronal NOS (nNOS), endothelial NOS, and inducible NOS (iNOS). In the central nervous system, NO may play important roles in neurotransmitter release, neurotransmitter reuptake, neurodevelopment, synaptic plasticity, and regulation of gene expression. However, excessive production of NO following a pathologic insult can lead to neurotoxicity. NO plays a role in mediating neurotoxicity associated with a variety of neurologic disorders, including stroke, Parkinson's Disease, and HIV dementia.
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