Previous work has suggested that nerve growth factor treatment of PC12 cells induces neuronal nitric oxide synthase, and possibly also endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and inducible NOS. To further analyze this process we exposed rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells to increasing concentrations of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), nerve growth factor (NGF), and vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF). Changes in NOS expression were then analyzed by Western blotting, using antisera generated against the three isoforms of NOS. Our results demonstrate that neuronal NOS was induced by growth factors that promote both differentiation (bFGF, NGF) and proliferation (EGF). nNOS levels were unaffected by VEGF treatment. In contrast, the levels of endothelial and inducible NOS were undetectable in these same cells, suggesting that different clonal lines of PC12 cells have different isoform complements.