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A review of the actions of Nitric Oxide in development and neuronal function in major invertebrate model systems

Associate professor of pharmacy, Wingate University School of Pharmacy, Wingate, NC28174, USA

Special Issues: Special Issue on Neuronal Nitric Oxide

Ever since the late-eighties when endothelium-derived relaxing factor was found to be the gas nitric oxide, endogenous nitric oxide production has been observed in virtually all animal groups tested and additionally in plants, diatoms, slime molds and bacteria. The fact that this new messenger was actually a gas and therefore didn’t obey the established rules of neurotransmission made it even more intriguing. In just 30 years there is now too much information for useful comprehensive reviews even if limited to animals alone. Therefore this review attempts to survey the actions of nitric oxide on development and neuronal function in selected major invertebrate models only so allowing some detailed discussion but still covering most of the primary references. Invertebrate model systems have some very useful advantages over more expensive and demanding animal models such as large, easily identifiable neurons and simple circuits in tissues that are typically far easier to keep viable. A table summarizing this information along with the major relevant references has been included for convenience.
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