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Viagra developer Furchgott dead at 92: report

Robert Furchgott, a Nobel prize-winning pharmacologist whose work with the gas nitric oxide nitric oxide or nitrogen monoxide, a colorless gas formed by the combustion of nitrogen and oxygen as given by the reaction: energy + N2 + O2 → 2NO; m.p. −163.6°C;; b.p. −151.8°C;.  helped develop the anti-impotency drug Viagra, has died at the age of 92, The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times reported Sunday.

The newspaper said his daughter Susan Furchgott had confirmed the death, which occurred on Tuesday in Seattle.

According to The Times, research by Furchgott, Louis Ignarro and Ferid Murad has proven that nitric oxide, widely known as an air pollutant, also acted as an important signal in the cardiovascular system cardiovascular system: see circulatory system.
cardiovascular system

System of vessels that convey blood to and from tissues throughout the body, bringing nutrients and oxygen and removing wastes and carbon dioxide.
, mediating blood pressure and blood flow.

This ability of nitric oxide to enlarge blood vessels Blood vessels

Tubular channels for blood transport, of which there are three principal types: arteries, capillaries, and veins. Only the larger arteries and veins in the body bear distinct names.
 was an important step in the development by Pfizer Corporation of the drug sildenafil citrate Sildenafil Citrate Definition

Sildenafil citrate (Viagra) is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, in men.
, which is also known as Viagra.

The drug ameliorates impotence by increasing blood flow to the penis. Pfizer has called the nitric acid discovery "a small piece of information" in its inventing of the drug.

In awarding Furchgott and his colleagues the prize for medicine in 1998, the Swedish Nobel assembly praised them for providing the first proof that a gas can perform important biochemical functions in the body.

Furchgott was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 4, 1916, and developed an early interest in birds, shells and other natural phenomena. He earned a degree in chemistry from the University of North Carolina and a doctorate in biochemistry from Northwestern University.

In the 1950s, Furchgott developed a method for determining how blood vessels respond to medications, neurotransmitters and hormones, using a rabbit?s artery. This allowed him to study the effects of drugs on vascular smooth muscle Vascular smooth muscle refers to the particular type of smooth muscle found within, and composing the majority of the wall of blood vessels.

Vascular smooth muscle contracts or relaxes to both change the volume of blood vessels and the local blood pressure, a mechanism that
.
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Author:AFP
Publication:AFP American Edition
Date:May 24, 2009
Words:259
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