Skeletal muscle nitric oxide signaling and exercise: a focus on glucose metabolism

Glenn K McConell, Stephen Rattigan, Robert S Lee-Young, Glenn D Wadley, Troy Merry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Nitric oxide (NO) is an important vasodilator and regulator in the cardiovascular system, and this link was the subject of a Nobel prize in 1998. However, NO also plays many other regulatory roles, including thrombosis, immune function, neural activity, and gastrointestinal function. Low concentrations of NO are thought to have important signaling effects. In contrast, high concentrations of NO can interact with reactive oxygen species, causing damage to cells and cellular components. A less-recognized site of NO production is within skeletal muscle, where small increases are thought to have beneficial effects such as regulating glucose uptake and possibly blood flow, but higher levels of production are thought to lead to deleterious effects such as an association with insulin resistance. This review will discuss the role of NO in skeletal muscle during and following exercise, including in mitochondrial biogenesis, muscle efficiency, and blood flow with a particular focus on its potential role in regulating skeletal muscle glucose uptake during exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301 - 307
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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