Nitric oxide synthase II in rat skeletal muscles


  • K. Punkt
  • A. Naupert
  • M. Wellner
  • G. Asmussen
  • C. Schmidt
  • I.B. Buchwalow


  • Histochemistry and Cell Biology


  • Histochem Cell Biol 118 (5): 371-379


  • Constitutive expression of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) II was found in rat hindlimb muscles by immunohistochemistry and western blotting during development from embryonic day 21 to the adult stage of 75 days. The immunohistochemical NOS II expression pattern was related to the physiological metabolic fibre types SO (slow-oxidative), FOG I, II (fast-oxidative glycolytic; I more glycolytic, II more oxidative) and FG (fast-glycolytic) and to the myosin-based fibre types I and IIA, IIB (IIX not separated) identified in serial sections by enzyme histochemistry and immunohistochemistry. In adult muscles only the small population of FOG II fibres, which is a part of both IIA and IIB fibre population, showed NOS II immunoreactivity. This is the reason that only weak NOS II expression in adult hindlimb muscles has been detected by western blotting. Hindlimb muscles of embryonic, neonatal and young rats of 8 days expressed more NOS II as compared with adult rat hindlimb muscles. This can be explained by the findings that before the age of 21 days fast fibres were metabolically undifferentiated, all of them were NOS II positive and contribute to the NOS II expression of the muscle. In muscles of diabetic rats the NOS II expression was elevated indicating an inhibition of glucose uptake into the muscle fibres of diabetic muscles. Our findings suggest that the NOS II may be designated both as constitutive and inducible.