Many of the actions of nitric oxide (NO) are still poorly understood. Recently, it has been shown that the inducible isoform of the enzyme nitric oxide synthase, iNOS, is expressed in both salivary ducts and pleomorphic adenoma. The current immunohistochemistry study determined whether or not this distribution correlated with smooth muscle actin (SMA) expression, thereby suggesting the expression by myoepithelial cells in both sites. Twenty cases of histologically confirmed pleomorphic adenoma, the sections of which contained adjacent normal salivary gland tissue, were stained for iNOS and smooth muscle actin (clone 1A4). The salivary ducts of all cases were stained intensely by both antibodies, with smooth muscle actin staining also being noted around acini in the normal gland parenchyma. Moderate or heavy staining for iNOS was found in all specimens of pleomorphic adenoma, with smooth muscle actin being distributed in a similar manner in 19 cases. Smooth muscle actin, but not iNOS, was also noted in blood vessels of both normal glands and tumours. The correlation between iNOS and SMA in pleomorphic adenoma was significant (P<0.001). The presence of iNOS in normal salivary ducts and pleomorphic adenoma is most likely due to expression by myoepithelial cells.