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A review of the L-arginine - nitric oxide - guanylate cyclase pathway as a mediator of lower urinary tract physiology and symptoms
Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, University of British Columbia, Vanc
Oct  2003 (Vol.  10, Issue  5, Pages( 1971 - 1980)


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  • Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are common and costly conditions that affect millions of men and women worldwide. A focal area of research into the cause and potential treatment of LUTS is the nitric oxide pathway, which is involved in nerve-induced relaxation in the lower urinary tract. Isoforms of NOS, including nNOS, eNOS, and iNOS, have been identified in the lower urinary tract of both animals and humans. Nerves that are immunoreactive to nitric oxide synthase (NOS) mainly serve the bladder outlet region, but some serve the detrusor. Pathology of the l-arginine-nitric oxide-cGMP pathway involving nNOS and eNOS may lead to impaired relaxation of the urethral outlet, increased bladder afferent activity, and detrusor smooth muscle overactivity. Such pathology has been implicated in the conditions of detrusor instability, urinary incontinence and outlet obstruction. iNOS may play an important role in inflammatory and infectious conditions of the bladder. Strategic manipulation of nitric oxide (NO), or interventions that address its mechanisms of action, possibly by pharmacological means or with gene therapy, may restore function or produce desired functional effects in the lower urinary tract.