Why salad helps you say yes to 'NO'

March 23, 2011

Disorders of the circulatory system- vascular diseases- are common in the developed world, and can lead to heart attacks, strokes and even death. However, treatments for these disorders, such as bypass surgery and angioplasty, themselves induce vascular injury, after which the cells of the blood vessel can over-proliferate in a way that limits blood flow.

Nitric oxide (NO) is an important molecule that helps maintain the contractility and health of vascular , and multiple studies have linked vascular pathology to a decreased level of NO. Therefore, therapies that increase the availability of NO could help protect vascular health.

NO is synthesized from arginine by an enzyme called synthase (NOS). In new research, Brian Zuckerbraun and colleagues, of the University of Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, determined that after vessel injury in the rat, the NOS pathway is disrupted, but a secondary pathway that generates NO from nitrate is activated. Furthermore, supplementing rats with nitrate before inducing vessel injury markedly limited the extent of the damage, while a diet low in nitrate exacerbated it.

In the accompanying commentary, John Cooke and Yohannes Ghebremariam of Stanford University in Stanford, California point out that high levels of dietary nitrate might in part explain the vascular benefits of diets rich in leafy greens, but warn that high dose supplementation could lead to the generation of carcinogenic molecules.

More information: Nitrite-generated NO circumvents dysregulated arginine/NOS signaling to protect against intimal hyperplasia in Sprague-Dawley rats
View this article at: www.jci.org/articles/view/44079?key=1e749dd41ac25c7e8efd

Dietary nitrate, nitric oxide, and restenosis
View this article at: www.jci.org/articles/view/57193?key=08699995280948c7eabd

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Natural compound reduces signs of aging in healthy mice

October 27, 2016

Much of human health hinges on how well the body manufactures and uses energy. For reasons that remain unclear, cells' ability to produce energy declines with age, prompting scientists to suspect that the steady loss of efficiency ...

A metabolic switch to turn off obesity

October 27, 2016

You've tried all the diets. No matter: you've still regained the weight you lost, even though you ate well and you exercised regularly! This may be due to a particular enzyme in the brain: the alpha/beta hydrolase domain-6 ...

Mitochondria control stem cell fate

October 27, 2016

What happens in intestinal epithelial cells during a chronic illness? Basic research conducted at the Chair of Nutrition and Immunology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) addressed this question by generating a new ...

Scientists develop 'world-first' 3-D mammary gland model

October 27, 2016

A team of researchers from Cardiff University and Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has succeeded in creating a three-dimensional mammary gland model that will pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.