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Int Immunol. 1994 Nov;6(11):1751-7.

NADPH diaphorase staining suggests a transient and localized contribution of nitric oxide to host defence against an intracellular pathogen in situ.

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Department of Immunology, University of Ulm, Germany.


Nitric oxide (NO) is formed constitutively in neurons by the constitutive enzyme NO synthase (cNOS) and acts as a neurotransmitter. It has already been shown that cNOS-containing neurons are identical to neurons staining for NADPH diaphorase and vice versa. Effector cells of the immune response produce high NO levels after appropriate stimulation and this NO is formed by inducible NO synthase (iNOS). The NO produced by macrophages is considered an important effector molecule of antimicrobial host defence. We have applied NADPH diaphorase staining for the detection of NO producing cells in situ during infection with an intracellular pathogen. Macrophages which produce NO in vitro are stained for NADPH diaphorase. Expression of iNOS mRNA and macrophage NADPH diaphorase staining was inhibited by iNOS-specific antisense oligonucleotides. These data suggest coincidental similarity between NADPH diaphorase activity and NO production by macrophages. Cells staining for NADPH diaphorase were identified in cryostat frozen sections of livers from mice infected with the intracellular pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes, and co-localized with cells labelled by MAC-1 mAbs. The purple-blue reaction product of NADPH diaphorase staining was visible in discrete granulomatous lesions but was absent from the liver parenchyma. Our results provide direct evidence for localized and transient participation of NO in antimicrobial immunity in the infected organ. This restriction may focus NO production to lesions, leaving unrelated tissue sites unaffected.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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