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Lab Reports
May 2, 2007

Carbon Monoxide’s Benefits?

JAMA. 2007;297(17):1870. doi:10.1001/jama.297.17.1870-c

Scientists from Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass, and the University of Pittsburgh have shown that carbon monoxide can exert potentially useful anti-inflammatory effects by acting on mitochondria within cells (Zuckerbraun BS et al. FASEB J. doi:10.1096/fj.06-6644com [published online February 28, 2007]).

The investigators found that low carbon monoxide levels cause mitochondria to release chemicals that dampen the body's inflammatory response. Specifically, this gas inhibits the enzyme cytochrome c oxidase, leading to the generation of reactive oxygen species that, in turn, activate anti-inflammatory responses.

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