Pain modulation by nitric oxide in the spinal cord

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Nitric oxide (NO) is a versatile messenger molecule first associated with endothelial relaxing effects. In the central nervous system (CNS), NO synthesis is primarily triggered by activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors and has a Janus face, with both beneficial and harmful properties. There are three isoforms of the NO synthesizing enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS): neuronal (nNOS), endothelial (eNOS), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), each one involved with specific events in the brain. In the CNS, nNOS is involved with modulation of synaptic transmission through long-term potentiation in several regions, including nociceptive circuits in the spinal cord. Here, we review the role played by NO on central pain sensitization. © 2009 Freire, Guimarães, Leal and Pereira.




Freire, M. A. M., Guimarães, J. S., Leal, W. G., & Pereira, A. (2009). Pain modulation by nitric oxide in the spinal cord. Frontiers in Neuroscience.

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