Localisation of neuronal nitric oxide synthase-immunoreactivity in rat and rabbit retinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The distribution of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS) immunoreactivity was examined in rat and rabbit retinas and was compared with the distribution of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-diaphorase reactivity and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) immunoreactivity. An antibody raised against a C-terminal fragment of a cloned rat cerebellar NOS was used to localise NOS immunoreactivity. NOS immunoreactive cells were not detected in rat retinas at postnatal day 1 or 4, but were seen from postnatal day 7 onwards. NOS immunolabelling was seen in a small population of cells in the proximal inner nuclear layer. Most of the labelled cells had the position of amacrine cells and were seen to send processes into the inner plexiform layer. A few labelled cells were at times also seen in the ganglion cell layer, which are likely to correspond to displaced amacrine cells. The same NOS-labelling pattern was seen in rat and rabbit retinas. NADPH-diaphorase staining was observed in both species, in photoreceptor inner segments, in cells with the position of horizontal cells, in a subset of amacrine and displaced amacrine cells, in large cell bodies in the ganglion cell layer, in both plexiform layers, and in endothelium. Colocalisation of NOS immunoreactivity and NADPH-diaphorase staining was only observed among amacrine cells. However, not all NADPH-diaphorase-reactive amacrine cells were found to be NOS immunoreactive. VIP immunoreactivity was also localised in rat retinas in a subpopulation of amacrine cells, but no colocalisation of NOS and VIP immunoreactivity was observed. Our observations indicate that only amacrine cells contain the NOS form recognisable by the antibody used, and suggest that different isoforms of neuronal NOS may be present in retinal cells. Further, the onset of NOS expression in rat amacrine cells appears to occur independently of neuronal activity.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords


  • Amino Acid Oxidoreductases, Animals, Antibodies, Fluorescence, Immunohistochemistry, Male, NADPH Dehydrogenase, Nitric Oxide Synthase, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Retina, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-17
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Publication categoryResearch