There are numerous gaseous substances that can act as signaling molecules, but the best characterized of these are nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide. Each has been shown to play important roles in many physiological and pathophysiological processes. This article is focused on the effects of these gasotransmitters in the context of inflammation. There is considerable overlap in the actions of nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide with respect to inflammation, and these mediators appear to act primarily as anti-inflammatory substances, promoting resolution of inflammatory processes. They also have protective and pro-healing effects in some tissues, such as the gastrointestinal tract and lung. Over the past two decades, significant progress has been made in the development of novel anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective drugs that release of one or more of these gaseous mediators.
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