Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a lethal X-linked disorder of striated muscle caused by the absence of dystrophin. Recently, impairment of vascular dilation under shear stress has been found in DMD, but the underlying molecular mechanism is not fully understood. Moreover, dilation of intramuscular arterioles, which may be a key to the molecular pathogenesis, has not been addressed yet. We examined dilation of arterioles in the mouse cremaster muscle under shear stress due to ligation. The vasodilation was significantly impaired in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice as well as in neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS)-deficient mice; however, neither endothelial NOS-deficient mice nor alpha1-syntrophin-deficient mice showed any difference in vasodilation from control mice. These results indicate that nNOS is the main supplier of nitric oxide in shear stress-induced vasodilation in skeletal muscle, but that the sarcolemmal localization of nNOS is not indispensable for the function. In contrast, the response to acetylcholine or sodium nitroprusside was not impaired in mdx or nNOS-deficient mice, suggesting that pharmacological treatment using a vasoactive agent may ameliorate skeletal and cardiac muscle symptoms of DMD.