Nitric Oxide and Teratogenesis: An Update

Author(s): Gian Mario Tiboni, Adalisa Ponzano

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 20 , Issue 34 , 2014

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Nitric oxide (NO), generated by NO synthase (NOS) enzymes, is an important bioactive molecule involved in the regulation of several biological phenomena that are crucial for organogenesis, including gene expression, cell growth, matrix remolding, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. The expression of NOS isoforms in embryonic tissues is temporally and spatially regulated, and disruption of endogenous NO can lead to developmental defects. Maternal treatment with pan NOS inhibitors during early organogenesis caused severe malformations of the axial skeleton. In utero exposure during the fetal period induced limb reduction defects of vascular origin. Knock-out mice have been used to define the role of the various NOS isoforms on the origin of the abnormal development. Cardiovascular malformations, limb reduction defects, reduced growth and reduced survival have been observed in knock-out mice with targeted disruption of endothelial NOS (eNOS). Limited morphological changes were observed in mice lacking inducible NOS (iNOS) or neuronal NOS n(NOS). Results obtained with in vitro studies suggest that optimal levels of NO are required for neural tube closure. Disregulation of NO production was also recently proposed as a contributing mechanism in the origin of malformations associated with exposure to known environmental teratogens, such as valproic acid, thalidomide, copper deficiency, and diabetes.

Keywords: Nitric oxide, nitric oxide synthase, nitric oxide synthase inhibitors, teratology, birth defects, limb defects, axial skeletal defects, neural tube defects, cardiovascular defects.

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Article Details

Year: 2014
Page: [5443 - 5447]
Pages: 5
DOI: 10.2174/1381612820666140205150437
Price: $65

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