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J Comp Neurol. 1994 Jul 1;345(1):125-38.

Neuronal nitric oxide synthase is localized in extrinsic nerves regulating perireceptor processes in the chemosensory nasal mucosae of rats and humans.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington 40536.


Nitric oxide synthase is the enzyme responsible for the production of the free radical gas nitric oxide, which has been implicated as an intercellular messenger in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Immunoreactivity for nitric oxide synthase is often coincident with the histochemical demonstration of NADPH-diaphorase activity. Using an antibody to the neuronal form of nitric oxide synthase and a histochemical technique for NADPH-diaphorase, we have compared the localization of immunoreactivity and histochemical reaction product in the nasal mucosae of rats and humans. Immunoreactivity for neuronal nitric oxide synthase was localized in the extrinsic perivascular innervation of the olfactory and vomeronasal mucosae of rats and in the olfactory mucosa of humans. In the rat nasal mucosa, specific groups of glands were also innervated; the density of nitrinergic innervation varied among them, with vomeronasal glands and posterior glands of the nasal septum being the most densely innervated. In contrast, NADPH-diaphorase activity was present in olfactory, vomeronasal, and septal organ receptor neurons in rats and in olfactory receptor neurons in humans as well as in numerous nerve fibers, glands, and surface epithelial cells. The localization of neuronal nitric oxide synthase in extrinsic perivascular and periglandular nerve fibers suggests that nitric oxide may modulate the perireceptor processes of local blood flow and mucus secretion that influence the access to and clearance of chemical stimuli from rat and human chemosensory mucosae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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