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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Expression of different isoforms of nitric oxide synthase in experimentally denervated and reinnervated skeletal muscle.

Denervated muscle fibers express enhanced levels of stress and apoptosis-associated proteins and undergo apoptosis. In experimentally denervated and reinnervated rat facial muscle, we now evaluate changes in the expression patterns of different isoforms of nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-generating nitric oxide (NO), which mediates oxidative stress and apoptosis. Physiological expression of NOS corresponds to a constant sarcolemmal staining pattern for neuronal NOS (nNOS) and a patchy sarcolemmal and weak sarcoplasmic labeling for the endothelial NOS-isoform, with no expression for inducible NOS (iNOS). Denervated muscle displayed distinct downregulation of nNOS with preserved expression of dystrophin. Also, denervated and immediately reinnervated muscle fibers showed decreased expression of nNOS. However, muscle fibers reinnervated for 10 weeks revealed a restored physiological expression of nNOS. There were no changes in the expression of endothelial and inducible NOS. As NO is known to induce growth arrest and collapse of neuronal growth cones, downregulation of NOS may contribute to promotion of axonal regeneration by aiding formation of new endplates. NO is upregulated in reinnervated muscle fibers and thus prevents polyneural hyperinnervation by extrajunctional synapses. Furthermore, downregulation of NOS during denervation is compatible with the finding that low levels of NO contribute to apoptosis instead of necrosis in disease states of oxidative stress.[1]


  1. Expression of different isoforms of nitric oxide synthase in experimentally denervated and reinnervated skeletal muscle. Tews, D.S., Goebel, H.H., Schneider, I., Gunkel, A., Stennert, E., Neiss, W.F. J. Neuropathol. Exp. Neurol. (1997) [Pubmed]
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