Towards nitric oxide based diagnostics: call to action

Document Type



Emergency Medicine


The discovery in the 1980s of the mammalian biosynthesis of nitric oxide (NO) and its roles in the immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems[1] established a startling new paradigm in the history of cellular signaling mechanisms. NO is one of the most important signaling molecules in the body and is involved in virtually every organ system, where it is responsible for modulating an astonishing variety of effects[1]. One can then imagine the host of diseases or conditions that might be caused or affected by the body's dysregulation of NO production and signaling. As a highly reactive free radical, NO is implicated in a variety of pathophysiological processes, a few of which are mentioned inFigure 1. Maintaining NO homeostasis is crucial for optimal health and disease prevention, and developing novel and accurate biomarkers for NO production or availability will probably lead to better diagnostics and treatment strategies for a host of human diseases and have a profound effect on public health. In this letter, we make a strong case for the need for rapid validation of useful and accurate NO based biomarkers for diagnostic and prognostic utility in the clinical setting.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


Trends in Molecular Medicine