Nitric oxide (NO) is a remarkable free radical gas whose presence in biological systems and whose astonishing breadth of physiological and pathophysiological activities have only recently been recognized. Mathematical models for NO biotransport, just beginning to emerge in the literature, are examined in this review. Some puzzling and paradoxical properties of NO may be understood by modeling proposed mechanisms with known parameters. For example, it is not obvious how NO can survive strong scavenging by hemoglobin and still be a potent vasodilator. Recent models do not completely explain how tissue NO can reach effective levels in the vascular wall, and they point toward mechanisms that need further investigation. Models help to make sense of extremely low partial pressures of NO exhaled from the lung and may provide diagnostic information. The role of NO as a gaseous neurotransmitter is also being understood through modeling. Studies on the effects of NO on O transport and metabolism, also reviewed, suggest that previous mathematical models of transport of O to tissue need to be revised, taking the biological activity of NO into account.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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