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Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

ISSN Print: 0278-940X
ISSN Online: 1943-619X

Critical Reviews™ in Biomedical Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevBiomedEng.v39.i5.40
pages 397-433

Nitric Oxide Signaling in the Microcirculation

Donald G. Buerk
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Kenneth A. Barbee
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Dov Jaron
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

ABSTRACT

Several apparent paradoxes are evident when one compares mathematical predictions from models of nitric oxide (NO) diffusion and convection in vasculature structures with experimental measurements of NO (or related metabolites) in animal and human studies. Values for NO predicted from mathematical models are generally much lower than in vivo NO values reported in the literature for experiments, specifically with NO microelectrodes positioned at perivascular locations next to different sizes of blood vessels in the microcirculation and NO electrodes inserted into a wide range of tissues supplied by the microcirculation of each specific organ system under investigation. There continues to be uncertainty about the roles of NO scavenging by hemoglobin versus a storage function that may conserve NO, and other signaling targets for NO need to be considered. This review describes model predictions and relevant experimental data with respect to several signaling pathways in the microcirculation that involve NO.