Myogenic nitric oxide synthase activity in canine lower oesophageal sphincter: morphological and functional evidence
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1. Studies on canine lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) evaluated the existence and function of a myogenic, nitric oxide synthase (NOS) by use of immunocytochemistry for NOS isozymes, NADPH-d histochemistry, [3H]-L-arginine to [3H]-L-citrulline transformation. In addition, functional studies in the muscle bath were performed. 2. Smooth muscle bundles or freshly isolated smooth muscle cells of LOS were NADPH-d reactive but did not recognize some antibodies against neural, endothelial or inducible NOS. NADPH-d reactivity and immunoreactivity to a neural NOS antibody were colocalized in LOS enteric nerves. Muscle plasma membrane-enriched fractions from fresh and cultured LOS cells converted [3H]-L-arginine to [3H]-L-citrulline; activity was mostly Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent. 3. N-Nitro-L-arginine (L-NOARG) persistently increased tone (blocked by L-arginine) in muscle strips despite blockade of nerve function. Nifedipine prevented or abolished L-NOARG-induced, but not carbachol-induced, contraction showing that tone increase by L-NOARG required functional L-Ca channels. 4. Membrane-bound, myogenic NOS in canine LOS may release NO continuously when Ca2+ entry through L-Ca channels occurs under physiological conditions and thereby modulate tone in LOS.
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