Differential distribution of ecNOS and iNOS mRNA in rat heart after endotoxin administration

Jpn Heart J. 1997 May;38(3):445-55. doi: 10.1536/ihj.38.445.


To evaluate the relationship between cardiovascular injury and the pathological significance of endothelial constitutive nitric oxide synthase (ecNOS) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in endotoxic shock, Wistar rats were injected intraperitoneally with 10 mg/kg Escherichia coli endotoxin and the resulting cardiovascular changes observed using immunohistochemistry, immunoelectron microscopy, the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ hybridization at 4, 6, 8 and 10 h after endotoxin administration. Immunohistochemical and electron microscopic observations showed that ecNOS was localized in the cytoplasmic vesicles and rough endoplasmic reticulum of the endothelium of coronary arteries and intermyocardial capillaries in both control and endotoxin-treated rats. iNOS was localized in the cytoplasmic vesicles and endoplasmic reticulum of vascular endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells and cardiomyocytes after endotoxin administration. The RT-PCR study confirmed the expression of ecNOS and iNOS mRNA in the heart tissues of all animals including controls. In situ hybridization showed that ecNOS mRNA was expressed in the cytoplasm of vascular endothelial cells in control and endotoxin-treated rats. After endotoxin administration, iNOS mRNA was strongly expressed in vascular endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, cardiomyocytes and a small number of macrophages. Bacterial lipopoly-saccharide induces rapid release of nitric oxide in the microvasculature and cardiomyocytes resulting in the depression of cardiomyocyte contraction. These findings may describe the cardiac response after endotoxin treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endotoxins / administration & dosage
  • Escherichia coli
  • Male
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Shock, Septic / genetics
  • Shock, Septic / metabolism*


  • Endotoxins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase