• Over 100 years ago it was found that nitroglycerin can treat the pain of heart disease and heart attacks
  • In 1987 it was discovered that nitric oxide was naturally produced in the body
  • Nitrogen monoxide (NO) was the 1992 Molecule of the Year
  • The work of the biochemical role of nitrogen monoxide by Robert Furchgott, Louis Ignarro and Ferid Murad was awarded the 1998 Nobel prized for physiology and medicine



  • Nitrogen monoxide plays a role in blood regulation
  • As blood pressure increases the walls in the arteries detect the increase
  • In reaction, the walls produce nitrogen monoxide
  • The nitrogen diffuses through the artery wall and into surrounding muscle tissue
  • In response the muscle tissue relaxes causing the artery walls to expand and blood pressure to drop
  • At first, this was thought to be just a poisonous polluting gas in the air
  • Now, this tiny molecule is a signal-conveyor in the nervous system and fights against infections in our body
  • Nitrogen Monoxide also controls erection and uterine contraction
  • It is also plays a role in regulating blood pressure


  • Nitrogen monoxide plays a role in blood regulation and it applies to Boyle’s law
  • Boyle’s Law states:
  • At a constant temperature, the volume of a fixed mass of gas is inversely proportional to its pressure


  • As blood pressure increases in the artery, nitrogen monoxide is released
  • In response the increased volume of nitrogen monoxide increases decreases pressure in the artery, therefore the volume of blood in the artery which decreases blood pressure
  • The drug V*agra ™ acts similarly as nitrogen monoxide



  • Nitroglycerin is a type of nitrate
  • Found to be useful when treating pain from heart diseases and heart attacks
  • Used to:
  • Prevent chest pain
  • Limit the number of heart attacks
  • Relieve pain from an attack
  • Treat the symptoms of heart failure
  • Act on the smooth muscle of  vessels to cause dilation of the arteries
  • Nitrates are vasodilators, which means they help widen (dilate) your blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow through and let more oxygen-rich blood reach your heart
  • Better blood flow means your heart doesn’t have to work as hard



  • The drug sildenafil citrate was originally developed to treat chest pain, using the release of nitrogen monoxide in a manner similar to nitroglycerin
  • Although, this drug wasn’t very effective in this role, there was one unexpected side effect in males: it produced nitrogen monoxide elsewhere in the body
  • As a result, the drug V*agra was discovered



  • Cures ED
  • Relieves pain of heart diseases
  • Cures angina
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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