Healthy Living

Cystic Fibrosis Treatments on the Horizon

Nitric oxide helps regulate inflammation and antimicrobial activity

Nitric oxide (NO) is a free radical gas and important messenger molecule produced by the respiratory tract and is detectable in exhaled air.  The physiological role of exhaled nitric oxide includes the modulation of ciliary activity (coordinated beats of cilia in the nose, trachea and bronchi to propel microorganism trapping mucus out of the body), mediation of inflammation, antimicrobial activity, vasodilation (the dilation of the blood vessels to decrease blood pressure) and bronchodilation (the expansion of the bronchial air passages in the lungs).  Nitric oxide is formed within the body by a group of enzymes called NO synthases (NOS) that catalyze amino acids in the body.