This mini-review takes into consideration the physiology, synthesis and mechanisms of action of the nitric oxide (NO) and, subsequently, the causes and effects of the NO bioavailability impairment. In diabetes mellitus the reduced NO bioavailability is caused by the increased free radicals production, secondary to hyperglycemia. The reactive oxygen species oxidize the cofactors of the nitric oxide synthase, diminishing their active forms and consequently leading to a decreased NO production. Furthermore the decreased concentration of reduced glutathione results in a diminished production of nitrosoglutathione. These molecules are important intermediates of the NO pathway and physiologically activate the soluble guanylate cyclase. Their decrease in oxidative states of the cell, therefore, leads to a reduced cGMP production which represents the principal molecule that carries out NOs major effects. Finally we considered the eventual therapeutic strategies to improve NO bioavailability by acting on the causes of its decrease. Therefore the treatments proposed are based on the possibility to counteract the oxidation and, in this context, the physiopathological mechanisms strongly support the treatment with thiols.
Keywords: Antioxidants, cGMP, diabetes mellitus, nitric oxide, oxidation, oxidative stress, thiols, vascular complications of diabetes mellitus, radicals production, glutathione results, nitrosoglutathione, macrophages, acetylcholine stimulus, endothelium, vasoconstrictor influences
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