Endogenous glutamate is thought to be a major neurotransmitter. After binding to a cell membrane receptor there can be a stimulation of what can be called the nitric oxide (NO)-mediated neurotransmission pathway (NO-MNP). The activity of the enzyme that produces NO from arginine, NO synthase, and the level of NO become elevated. NO has little activity within the cell in which it is produced, but it rapidly leaks out of that cell and produces effects in neighboring cells. The NO-MNP can be activated to release NO in endothelial cells which in turn acts on neighboring vascular smooth muscle cells to induce vasodilation. Therefore, we suggest that exogenous, ingested glutamate, like endogenous glutamate, can lead to the same stimulation of the NO-MNP in sensitive individuals which would then cause the symptoms of the Chinese restaurant syndrome and/or glutamate-induced asthma. Further, since ingested nitrite and related compounds can be metabolized to NO, NO may more directly cause the symptoms of 'hot dog headache'. In addition, it has been suggested that NO production can also be controlled in endothelial cells by fluid forces that stimulate pressure receptors. Therefore, elevations of NO and stimulation of the NO-MNP may occur due to sudden, local, alterations of blood pressure during pugilistic activities and play a role in the symptoms of pugilistic Alzheimer's disease. If these ideas are correct, then inhibitors of the NO-MNP and/or temporary reduction of the plasma level of arginine may be useful in preventing at least some of the symptoms of these disorders.