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Review Article

The Nitric Oxide Pathway in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: Pathomechanism, Biomarkers and Drug Targets

[ Vol. 27 , Issue. 42 ]


Zsófia Lázár, Martina Mészáros and Andras Bikov*   Pages 7168 - 7188 ( 21 )


The altered Nitric Oxide (NO) pathway in the pulmonary endothelium leads to increased vascular smooth muscle tone and vascular remodelling, and thus contributes to the development and progression of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The pulmonary NO signalling is abrogated by the decreased expression and dysfunction of the endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) and the accumulation of factors blocking eNOS functionality. The NO deficiency of the pulmonary vasculature can be assessed by detecting nitric oxide in the exhaled breath or measuring the degradation products of NO (nitrite, nitrate, S-nitrosothiol) in blood or urine. These non-invasive biomarkers might show the potential to correlate with changes in pulmonary haemodynamics and predict response to therapies. Current pharmacological therapies aim to stimulate pulmonary NO signalling by suppressing the degradation of NO (phosphodiesterase- 5 inhibitors) or increasing the formation of the endothelial cyclic guanosine monophosphate, which mediates the downstream effects of the pathway (soluble guanylate cyclase sensitizers). Recent data support that nitrite compounds and dietary supplements rich in nitrate might increase pulmonary NO availability and lessen vascular resistance. This review summarizes current knowledge on the involvement of the NO pathway in the pathomechanism of PAH, explores novel and easy-to-detect biomarkers of the pulmonary NO.


Pulmonary arterial hypertension, nitric oxide, nitric oxide synthase, FENO, biomarkers, systemic sclerosis.


Department of Pulmonology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Department of Pulmonology, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Department of Pulmonology, Semmelweis University, Budapest

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