Gasotransmitters and the immune system: Mode of action and novel therapeutic targets

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Abstract

Gasotransmitters are a group of gaseous molecules, with pleiotropic biological functions. These molecules include nitric oxide (NO), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and carbon monoxide (CO). Abnormal production and metabolism of these molecules have been observed in several pathological conditions. The understanding of the role of gasotransmitters in the immune system has grown significantly in the past years, and independent studies have shed light on the effect of exogenous and endogenous gasotransmitters on immune responses. Moreover, encouraging results come from the efficacy of NO-, CO- and H2S -donors in preclinical animal models of autoimmune, acute and chronic inflammatory diseases. To date, data on the influence of gasotransmitters in immunity and immunopathology are often scattered and partial, and the scarcity of clinical trials using NO-, CO- and H2S -donors, reveals that more effort is warranted. This review focuses on the role of gasotransmitters in the immune system and covers the evidences on the possible use of gasotransmitters for the treatment of inflammatory conditions.

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