Clinical use of nitric oxide donors and L-arginine in obstetrics

Viviana De Pace, Giuseppe Chiossi, Fabio Facchinetti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Nitric oxide (NO) is a free radical that plays a fundamental role in human physiology, being involved in the homeostasis of different functions. In obstetrics this molecule is determinant in the physiology of labor and cervical ripening; it possibly plays a fundamental role in the etiology of preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction, and it could also be utilized in view of its ability to induce smooth muscle relaxation. Several clinical trials have ascertained the ability of the topical application of NO donors to promote cervical ripening, and also labor induction. There is much less evidence on the use of NO donors in the vascular complications of pregnancy, either as prophylactics or therapeutic agents. Due to the capacity of NO to promote relaxation of smooth muscle, NO donors have been employed as tocolytics with performance similar to other agents. Moreover, although anecdotal, the experience of sudden uterine relaxation using NO donors in obstetric emergencies remains of great clinical value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-579
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cervical ripening
  • Growth restriction
  • L-arginine
  • NO donors
  • Nitric oxide
  • Obstetrical emergencies
  • Preeclampsia
  • Preterm labor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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