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Cell Tissue Res. 1994 Jun;276(3):559-64.

Nitric oxide synthase in the rat carotid body and carotid sinus.

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Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology, Philipps University Marburg, Germany.


The participation of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in the innervation of the rat carotid body and carotid sinus was investigated by means of NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry and NOS immunohistochemistry using antisera raised against purified neuronal NOS and a synthetic tridecapeptide. NOS was detected in 23% of neurons at the periphery of the carotid bodies. Some negative neurons were surrounded by NOS-positive terminals. NOS-containing varicose nerve fibres innervated the arterial vascular bed and, to a lesser extent, the islands of glomus cells. These fibres persisted after transection of the carotid sinus nerve and are probably derived from intrinsic neurons. Large NOS-positive axonal swellings in the wall of the carotid sinus were absent after transection of the sinus nerve, indicating their sensory origin. The results suggest a neuronal nitrergic control of blood flow, neuronal activity and chemoreception in the carotid body, and an intrinsic role of NO in the process of arterial baroreception.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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