The role of gasotransmitters in neonatal physiology.Nitric Oxide. 2020 02 01; 95:29-44.NO
The gasotransmitters, nitric oxide (NO), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and carbon monoxide (CO), are endogenously-produced volatile molecules that perform signaling functions throughout the body. In biological tissues, these small, lipid-permeable molecules exist in free gaseous form for only seconds or less, and thus they are ideal for paracrine signaling that can be controlled rapidly by changes in their rates of production or consumption. In addition, tissue concentrations of the gasotransmitters are influenced by fluctuations in the level of O2 and reactive oxygen species (ROS). The normal transition from fetus to newborn involves a several-fold increase in tissue O2 tensions and ROS, and requires rapid morphological and functional adaptations to the extrauterine environment. This review summarizes the role of gasotransmitters as it pertains to newborn physiology. Particular focus is given to the vasculature, ventilatory, and gastrointestinal systems, each of which uniquely illustrate the function of gasotransmitters in the birth transition and newborn periods. Moreover, given the relative lack of studies on the role that gasotransmitters play in the newborn, particularly that of H2S and CO, important gaps in knowledge are highlighted throughout the review.