Asthma and nitric oxide

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Nitric oxide (NO), once generally viewed only as hazardous to humans, has now become new promising means of identifying and treating respiratory diseases such as asthma. Several studies have indicated the usefulness of nitric oxide monitoring in managing asthmatic patients particularly children.


The European Respiratory Society has indicated its conviction in the method that it has already published guidelines to standardize analysis, diagnosis and reference levels in using nitric oxide as part of respiratory treatment (Buchwald, 2005). In the United States alone, 6% those aged below 12 have been diagnosed with asthma and as high as 40% in urban areas. This reflects a 75% from data gather in the 1980's a trend that is reflected globally (World Health Organization [WHO], 2005).
Nitric oxide is a highly reactive, prevalent gas in human chemical activity. It can be found in neurons as n NOS or NOS1, in macrophages as iNOS or NOS-2, and in endothelial cells as eNOS or NOS-3 (Bor-Kucukatay, 2005). Nitric oxide is cellularly synthesized by the enzyme nitric oxide sythases denoted by NOS from arginine, molecular oxygen and NADPH. Nitric oxide interacts rapidly molecularly and disperses through cell membranes acting in a paracinic or autocrinic behavior1.
Endogenous nitric oxide is a product of L-argining amino acid and NOS. All three isofrms, NOS or NOS1, iNOS or NOS-2, eNOS or NOS-3 are found in the respiratory tract functioning a part in vascular and airway smooth muscle tone, inflammatory respiratory response, ciliary action and in eliminating bacteria, viruses and mycobacteria in the respiratory tracts (Smith et al, 2004).
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