NADPH-diaphorase activity as a marker for nitric oxide synthase in neurons of the guinea pig respiratory tract

Tooru Shimosegawa, Takayoshi Toyota

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies in physiology have suggested that part of the inhibitory nonadrenergic noncholinergic (iN-ANC) response of airway smooth muscle is mediated by nitric oxide (NO). To examine this point morphologically, the guinea pig respiratory tract was investigated histochemically for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-diaphorase (NADPH-d), a marker for NO synthase (NOS). In addition, coexpression of NOS and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) or calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) was studied using a combination of histochemistry for NADPH-d and immunohistochemistry for VIP or CGRP. Nerve fibers showing NADPH-d activity were abundantly observed in the respiratory tract. They were distributed throughout smooth-muscle bundles, lamina propria, submucosal glands, and around bronchial and pulmonary arteries. NADPH-d-containing nerve-cell bodies were occasionally found within airway ganglia. The colocalization study demonstrated that NADPH-d-containing nerve fibers frequently coincided with VIP-like immunoreactive nerve fibers but not with CGRP-like immunoreactive nerve fibers. Among nonneural tissues, NADPH-d activity was noticed in the endothelium of both bronchial and pulmonary vessels, and in the pleura. These observations indicated that NO may be produced by neurons and vascular endothelium of the guinea pig respiratory tract, and may function as a neuronal mediator as well as endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF). Colocalization of NADPH-d and VIP-like immunoreactivity in nerve fibers suggested that NO and VIP may function as cotransmitters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1402-1410
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number5 I
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Nov
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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