Received June 26, 1997
In this review the molecular mechanisms underlying the antihypertensive and antiaggregatory actions of nitric oxide (NO) are discussed. It has been shown that these effects are directly connected with the activation of soluble guanylate cyclase and the accumulation of cyclic 3´,5´-guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). The mechanism of guanylate cyclase activation by NO is analyzed, especially the role and biological significance of the nitrosyl--heme complex formed as a result of interaction of guanylate cyclase heme with NO and the role of sulfhydryl groups of the enzyme in this process. Using new approaches for studying the antihypertensive and antiaggregatory actions of nitric oxide in combination with the newly obtained data on the regulatory role of guanylate cyclase in the platelet aggregation process, the most important results were obtained regarding the molecular bases providing for a directed search for and creation of new effective antihypertensive and antiaggregatory preparations. In studying the molecular mechanism for directed activation of soluble guanylate cyclase by new NO donors, a series of hitherto unknown enzyme activators generating NO and involved in the regulation of hemostasis and vascular tone were revealed.
KEY WORDS: guanylate cyclase, nitric oxide, platelet aggregation