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.
Hampton T. Carbon Monoxide’s Benefits?. JAMA. 2007;297(17):1870. doi:10.1001/jama.297.17.1870-c