Strong and increasing evidence shows that nitric oxide (NO) contributes to immune function, and in particular to 'non-specific host defense'. The aim of the present review was to focus the current understanding of the role of NO as a biochemical effector of l-arginine-dependent cell-mediated immune responses to neoplastic cells in vitro and in vivo. The cytokine-inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS) seems to mainly be implicated in the cytotoxic activity of almost all the effector cells involved in tumor cell killing. The cytotoxic actions of NO against tumor cells appear to be related mainly to inhibition of several heme-containing enzymes of the mitochondrial electron transport complex and the citric acid cycle.
- cell-mediated tumor cytotoxicity
- Nitric oxide
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