The gaseous molecule nitric oxide (NO) plays an important role in cardiovascular homeostasis. It plays this role by its action on both the central and peripheral autonomic nervous systems. In this review, the central role of NO in the regulation of sympathetic outflow and subsequent cardiovascular control is examined. After a brief introduction concerning the location of NO synthase (NOS) containing neurons in the central nervous system (CNS), studies that demonstrate the central effect of NO by systemic administration of NO modulators will be presented. The central effects of NO as assessed by intracerebroventricular, intracisternal, or direct injection within the specific central areas is also discussed. Our studies demonstrating specific medullary and hypothalamic sites involved in sympathetic outflow are summarized. The review will be concluded with a discussion of the role of central NO mechanisms in the altered sympathetic outflow in disease states such as hypertension and heart failure.
- Central nervous system
- Nitric oxide
- Sympathetic outflow
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)