The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1998

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1998 was awarded jointly to Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad “for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system.”

Nobelist Born Died Affiliation at the time of the award
Robert F. Furchgott 4 June 1916, Charleston, SC, USA 19 May 2009, Seattle, WA, USA SUNY Health Science Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA
Louis J. Ignarro 31 May 1941, Brooklyn, NY, USA University of California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Ferid Murad 14 September 1936, Whiting, IN, USA University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston, TX, USA


Nitric oxide protects the heart, stimulates the brain, kills bacteria, etc.

It was a sensation that this simple, common air pollutant, which is formed when nitrogen burns, for instance in automobile exhaust fumes, could exert important functions in the organism. It was particularly surprising since NO is totally different from any other known signal molecule and so unstable that it is converted to nitrate and nitrite within 10 seconds. NO was known to be produced in bacteria but this simple molecule was not expected to be important in higher animals such as mammals.

Further research results rapidly confirmed that NO is a signal molecule of key importance for the cardiovascular system and it was also found to exert a series of other functions. We know today that NO acts as a signal molecule in the nervous system, as a weapon against infections, as a regulator of blood pressure and as a gatekeeper of blood flow to different organs. NO is present in most living creatures and made by many different types of cells.
– When NO is produced by the innermost cell layer of the arteries, the endothelium, it rapidly spreads through the cell membranes to the underlying muscle cells. Their contraction is turned off by NO, resulting in a dilatation of the arteries. In this way, NO controls the blood pressure and its distribution. It also prevents the formation of thrombi.
– When NO is formed in nerve cells, it spreads rapidly in all directions, activating all cells in the vicinity. This can modulate many functions, from behaviour to gastrointestinal motility.
– When NO is produced in white blood cells (such as macrophages), huge quantities are achieved and become toxic to invading bacteria and parasites.

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Abbkine is attending SfN’s 48th annual meeting, Neuroscience 2018, we invites you to visit our booth #3510 (Hall C)  in San Diego Convention Center from November 4 to November 7, 2018.

Abbkine invites you to visit our booth #3510 (Hall C) at Neuroscience 2018


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