Louis J. Ignarro

May 31st

Born 31 May 1941.
American pharmacologist who, along with Robert F. Furchgott and Ferid Murad, was co-awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that nitric oxide (NO) acts as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system, an entirely new mechanism by which blood vessels in the body relax and widen. At first, major professional journals refused to publish his contention that a substance that is basic to nitroglycerin and part of the chemistry of smog is also crucial to the life process. But over the years, others repeated his work and confirmed his discovery that nitric oxide is a neurotransmitter that is, says Ignarro, “perhaps the most widespread signaling molecule that allows a variety of different cell types to communicate with one another.”

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