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ARTICLE |

The Discovery of Endothelium-Derived Relaxing Factor and Its Importance in the Identification of Nitric Oxide

Robert F. Furchgott, PhD
JAMA. 1996;276(14):1186-1188. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540140074032.
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The discovery of endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF) and its importance in the identification of nitric oxide (NO) originated with studies using rabbit aorta to examine drug-receptor interactions in vascular smooth muscle. Smooth muscle relaxation by acetylcholine and a number of other agonists was found to be dependent on the presence of endothelial cells, which, when stimulated by the agonist, released a diffusable, very labile, nonprostanoid substance, termed EDRF, that acted on vascular smooth muscle cells to activate relaxation. The characteristics of EDRF, when released from endothelial cells, were similar to the characteristics of NO. It is now established that EDRF, either as NO or some related nitrosyl substance, has a major role in a variety of important biological processes, including the regulation of vascular tone, local blood flow, and blood pressure, inhibition of platelet aggregation and adhesion, and involvement in postischemic reperfusion, memory function, and central nervous system degenerative diseases.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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