Carbon monoxide (CO) is a resourceful gas as recent advances in the area of cell signaling are revealing an unexpected physiological role for CO in the cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems. Transition metal carbonyls have been lately discovered to function as COreleasing molecules (CO-RMs) and elicit distinct pharmacological activities in biological systems. Studies currently ongoing in our laboratories are investigating both the chemical and bioactive features of a series of water-soluble CO-RMs and their specific utilization as vasoactive mediators, anti-inflammatory agents and inhibitors of cellular and tissue damage. The data presented in this review corroborate the notion that transition metal carbonyls could be used as carriers to deliver CO in mammals and highlight the bioactivity and potential therapeutic features of CO-RMs in the mitigation of cellular and organ dysfunction.
Keywords: transition metal carbonyls, carbon monoxide-releasing molecules, heme oxygenase, nitric oxide
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