Immunohistochemical localization of peripheral nitric oxide synthase-containing nerves using antibodies raised against synthesized C- and N-terminal fragments of a cloned enzyme from rat brain

Acta Physiol Scand. 1993 Aug;148(4):421-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-1716.1993.tb09578.x.


Antibodies were raised in rabbits against C- or N-terminal fragments of a cloned nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzyme from rat cerebellum, and used for demonstration of NOS-immunoreactive (NOS-IR) nerves in different tissues from the rat (colon, duodenum, adrenal gland, aorta, caval vein, penis and urethra). Both antisera demonstrated the same neuronal elements, although with differences in intensity in the immunoreaction in some tissues. Sections incubated with antisera preabsorbed with excess of the antigens showed no NOS immunoreactivity. In duodenum and colon, NOS-immunoreactivity was found in the cytoplasm of numerous cell bodies in myenteric ganglia and in some nerve cell bodies in the submucosa. NOS-IR nerve fibres were numerous in the circular muscle layer, while few were found in the longitudinal layer or the mucosa and submucosa. In the penis, strong NOS immunoreactivity was found in nerves surrounding the deep penile and dorsal arteries, and in nerves in the stroma of the cavernous tissue. In the urethra, NOS immunoreactivity was found in nerves in the mucosa. No NOS immunoreactivity was found in the urothelium. The adrenal medulla, and occasionally the cortex, contained nerve cell bodies with strong cytoplasmic NOS immunoreactivity as well as scattered nerve fibres. No NOS immunoreactivity was found in the abdominal aorta or inferior caval vein. Combined NOS immunostaining and NADPH diaphorase staining showed that virtually all NOS-IR nerve structures were also NADPH diaphorase-positive. However, thin nerve fibres and cell linings were sometimes better visualized by NOS-immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, the adrenal cortex, which only occasionally showed NOS immunoreactivity, was strongly NADPH diaphorase-positive.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases / analysis*
  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases / immunology
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / analysis*
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Cerebellum / enzymology*
  • Colon / innervation
  • Duodenum / innervation
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase / analysis
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase / immunology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology*
  • Peripheral Nerves / enzymology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Urethra / innervation


  • Antibodies
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase