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Free Radicals, Types, Sources and Damaging Reactions

Submitted by Dr. Tamer Fouad, M.D.

Types of Free Radicals in the body (continued)

Nitric Oxide

It is a common gaseous free radical. It is now recognised to play a role in vascular physiology and is also known as endothelium derived relaxing factor. Vascular endothelium produces nitric oxide, as do neutrophils and macrophages from arginine using the enzyme nitric oxide synthetase. This event can be stimulated by cytokines, tumour necrosis factor, or interleukins (Moncada et al. 1991; Beckman et al. 1993). Inhibition of production is known to reduce microbicidal and tumouricidal activities of macrophages.

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