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ISRN Allergy
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 832560, 13 pages
Review Article

Nitric Oxide in Asthma Physiopathology

1Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, 04023-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Departmento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, 04301-012, Diadema, SP, Brazil

Received 28 January 2011; Accepted 10 March 2011

Academic Editors: E. Bar-Yishay, S. Mattoli, and S. Loukides

Copyright © 2011 Carla M. Prado et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airway disease characterized by allergen-induced airway hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammation, and remodeling. Nitric oxide (NO) derived from constitutive and inducible enzymes affects many aspects of asthma physiopathology. Animal in vivo studies have indicated that inhibition of iNOS may play a central role in the modulation of these features, particularly extracellular matrix remodeling. Additionally, increases in iNOS-derived NO, observed in asthmatic patients, may lead to an increase in peroxynitrite and an imbalance of oxidant and antioxidant pathways. In addition, endogenous nitric oxide produced by constitutive enzymes may protect against the remodeling of the lung. Therefore, nitric oxide donors and/or iNOS inhibitors may have therapeutic potential in asthma treatment and can also be used with corticosteroids to counteract airway remodeling. This paper focuses on the pathophysiological role of nitric oxide, mainly derived from inducible isoforms, in the various pathologic mechanisms of allergic asthma and the importance of nitric oxide and/or arginase inhibitors in asthma treatment.