J Rhinol.  1999 Nov;6(2):87-90.

The Role of Nitric Oxide in the Nasal Mucosa and Rhinitis

  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, GyeongSang National University Hospital, Chinju, Korea. syjeon@nongae.gsnu.ac.kr


Nitric oxide (NO) signaling has been one of the most rapidly growing areas of study in biology. We know today that NO acts as a signal molecule in the nervous system, a weapon against infection, a regulator of blood pressure, and a gatekeeper of blood flow to different organs. However, much remains to be determined about the physiological and pathophysiological role of NO in the airways. NO appears to be co-localized to cholinergic innervation and involved in vasomotor and secretomotor control of the nasal mucosa. NO is present in exhaled air and appears to originate mainly from paranasal sinus epithelium. Moreover, immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization studies identify all three known isoforms of NO synthase in nasal mucosa. Inhaled endogenous NO in the airways is suggested as playing a role in host defense, and involved in the regulation of pulmonary function as an 'aerocrine.' However, the role of NO in airway inflammation is complicated and clearly has to be determined. The physiological role of NO in the nasal mucosa and its possible pathophysiological role in rhinitis are to be discussed.


Nitric oxide; Nitric oxide synthase; Nasal mucosa; Rhinitis

MeSH Terms

Blood Pressure
In Situ Hybridization
Nasal Mucosa*
Nervous System
Nitric Oxide Synthase
Nitric Oxide*
Protein Isoforms
Nitric Oxide
Nitric Oxide Synthase
Protein Isoforms
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