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The seminal idea that a gas, in this case nitrous oxide, could have a direct effect on pharmacological receptors and thus influence neurotransmission was first suggested in 1981 from clinical work (1,2) and in more detail (3) immediately prior to in vitro experimental evidence (4). The latter work was later confirmed by workers at NIDA (5). That N2O was the first gas to be directly implicated in neurotransmission has also been highlighted elsewhere (6-10). There is now evidence that nitrous oxide is produced endogenously and therefore could also qualify as a gasotransmitter (11,12). While these gasotransmitters may not fit with the criteria for classical neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, they share several common characteristics amongst themselves, which allow them to be classed together as gasotransmitters (see ref. 2). The gasotransmitters play a major role in physiological and pathological processes such as blood pressure regulation, neurotransmission, inflammatory processes etc. It is worth noting that all four of these gases are also components of air pollution. The 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Robert Furchgott, Louis Ignarro and Ferid Murad for their research which led to the discovery of nitric oxide as a biological mediator. A class of drugs known as nitrates (such as glyceryl trinitrate), which have been used for many years in the treatment of angina pectoris, produce their beneficial effect through the release and action of nitric oxide.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gasotransmitters". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|