Advances in the understanding of nitric oxide as a biological
mediator and a therapeutic tool continue to accumulate at a rapid rate.
This review provides an update on recent developments pertinent to the
role of nitric oxide in adult lung disease. After a brief review of
basic nitric oxide biochemistry and physiology, the evidence supporting
the role of nitric oxide in the regulation of vascular and airway tone
in the normal lung is considered. Clinical studies addressing the
pathophysiological role of nitric oxide in pulmonary hypertension,
airway disease, and lung injury are reviewed, and the application of
inhaled nitric oxide therapy is discussed.
Abbreviations: cGMP = cyclic 3′,5′-guanosine
monophosphate; NANC = nonadrenergic noncholinergic;
NO2 = nitrogen dioxide; NOS = nitric oxide synthase;
ONOO− = peroxynitrite; ppb = parts per billion;
V̇/Q̇ = ventilation/perfusion