Nitric Oxide and Nitric Oxide Synthase in the Kidney: Potential Roles in Normal Renal Function and in Renal Dysfunction

Nathalie Hill-Kapturczak, Matthias H. Kapturczak, Tadeusz Malinski, Peter Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


A detailed overview of nitric oxide and nitric oxide synthases in the kidney is presented. Physiologically, constitutive and inducible nitric oxide synthases have been detected in basically all vascular segments of the kidney, including all large vessels and arterioles that are primarily involved in the regulation of renal hemodynamics. It was observed that nitric oxide increases renal blood flow, decreases renal vascular resistance, and exerts variable effects on glomerular filtration rate depending on the experimental conditions. In addition, macula densa generated nitric oxide appears to mediate tubuloglomerular feedback. Constitutive and inducible nitric oxide synthases have also been delineated in most renal tubular segments. The inner medullary collecting duct was shown to contain the highest amount of constitutive nitric oxide synthase as compared to other nephron segments. It appears that nitric oxide may directly enhance tubular reabsorption in the collecting duct and the proximal tubule. Pressure-natriuresis, which may be a combination of both hemodynamic effects and an influence on tubular transport, may also be influenced directly and/or indirectly by nitric oxide. Due to its diverse functions, nitric oxide has been implicated in the pathophysiology of several renal diseases. Cyclosporin A toxicity, renal mass reduction, glomerular thrombosis, and ureteral obstruction, have all been found to be associated with diminished nitric oxide. On the other hand, incipient diabetes mellitus, ischemic acute renal failure, renal dysfunction of septic shock, advanced liver cirrhosis, and glomerulonephritis appear to be related to overabundant nitric oxide synthesis. Much has been learned regarding nitric oxide and the kidney, however, important questions remain to be clarified. Exciting new developments in nitric oxide research, including selective nitric oxide synthase inhibitors and alterations of the nitric oxide synthase gene(s), will add to the present understanding of nitric oxide. The kidney will probably turn out to be an organ amenable to some nitric oxide related therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-299
Number of pages47
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • acute renal failure
  • amino acid infusion
  • cyclosporine A nephrotoxicity
  • diabetic nephropathy
  • glomerular thrombosis
  • glomerulonephritis
  • hypertension
  • hypotension
  • nitric oxide
  • renal mass reduction
  • uremia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nitric Oxide and Nitric Oxide Synthase in the Kidney: Potential Roles in Normal Renal Function and in Renal Dysfunction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this