The content of NO and H(2)O(2) as well as the activities of nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-like and nitrate reductase (NR) were monitored in the needles of Pinus thunbergii infected by Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. The results showed that the content of NO increased significantly only 8 h after the invasion of B. xylophilus, while H(2)O(2) increased 12 h after invasion. NO donor SNP could promote and NO scavenger cPTIO could prevent the production of NO and H(2)O(2). The content of NO changed earlier than that of H(2)O(2). In addition, the symptoms appeared 9, 5 and 12 days, respectively, after the inoculation with B. xylophilus, SNP pre-treatment and cPTIO pre-treatment followed by B. xylophilus infection. After B. xylophilus infection, the content of NO in P. thunbergii changed fiercely more earlier than the appearance of external symptoms, which indicated that the content of NO was related with the appearance and the development of the symptoms. The treatment with L-NNA (NOS inhibitor) inhibited the content of NO significantly, whereas, Na(2)WO(4) (NR inhibitor) had no effect. The further analysis of NOS revealed that NO changed in consistent with cNOS activity. To sum up, NO, as the upstream signal molecule of H(2)O(2), was involved in the pine early response to the invasion of B. xylophilus and influenced the accumulation of the content of H(2)O(2). Moreover, NOS-like rather than NR was responsible for the endogenous NO generation, which was modulated by cNOS during the interaction between P. thunbergii and B. xylophilus. Key message NO is involved in early response of P. thunbergii to the invasion of B. xylophilus and NOS is the key enzyme responsible for NO generation in P. thunbergii.