Nitric oxide in arthritis

Author(s): Jang D, Murrell GA


Nitric oxide's (NO) involvement in arthritis was first demonstrated when levels of nitrite, a stable endproduct of NO metabolism, were shown to be elevated in serum and synovial fluid samples of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis patients. NO production by chondrocytes, its involvement in various biochemical events of cartilage metabolism, and the in vivo suppression of experimental arthritis by NO synthase inhibitors further implicated NO in arthritis. However, a conclusive role for NO in the pathogenesis of arthritis remains to be defined, in contrast to the NO-cGMP signal transduction pathway of endothelium-mediated vasodilation. It appears that NO has limited modulating effects in cartilage metabolism, with evidence for both protective and deleterious effects. Recent developments that contribute to our understanding of NO's role in arthritis are discussed.

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