Tag Archives: Infectious Diseases

Nitric oxide: a magic bullet against infection?

HAMBURG, GERMANY - JUNE 02:  A lab technician ...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife - Positive for infection

Nitric oxide (NO) is already known to block the growth of certain bacteria and protect the body against certain infections as well as keep some good substances from producing too much of themselves. Wow, a regular health watchdog.

Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph sh...
Image via Wikipedia - Salmonella under the scope

“Nitric oxide is naturally produced in the nose and the gut and other tissues in the body to ward off infection,” says the author of the report on a new study. The study used salmonella to show that “nitric oxide’s antimicrobial actions are due to its interference with the metabolism, or energy production, of pathogens.” Inhibiting the bad guy’s ability to reproduce itself produces a condition called nitrosative stress—which starves the bad guys and is tough on bacteria but benign for the host organism.

It’s not exactly magic, but it might as well be, since it opens a new pathway for scientists. By “learning how the body naturally controls the energy supplies and growth of varied disease-causing organisms” they may be able to create antimicrobial drugs that perform similar actions and thus strengthen nature’s own natural defenses against infection. Read the article.

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