Nonendothelial source of nitric oxide in arterioles but not in venules: Alternative source revealed in vivo by diaminofluorescein microfluorography

Satoshi Kashiwagi, Mayumi Kajimura, Yasunori Yoshimura, Makoto Suematsu

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84 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to examine topographic distribution of microvascular NO generation in vivo. To this end, nitrosonium ion (NO+)-sensitive diaminofluorescein diacetate was superfused continuously on the rat mesentery and the fluorescence was visualized in the microvessels through laser confocal microfluorography. Two major sites exhibited a time-dependent elevation of the fluorescence: microvascular endothelia and mast cells. As judged by the fluorescence sensitivity to local application of different inhibitors of NO synthase (NOS), NO availability in arteriolar endothelium and mast cells appeared to be maintained mainly by NOS1, whereas that in venular endothelium greatly depends on NOS3. In venules, the magnitude of inhibitory responses elicited by the inhibitors was positively correlated with the density of leukocyte adhesion. NOS inhibitors significantly reduced, but did not eliminate, the NO+-associated fluorescence in arterioles, capillaries, and venules, suggesting alternative sources of NO in circulation for these microvessels. Immunohistochemistry for NOS isozymes revealed that NOS1 occurred not only in nerve fibers innervated to arterioles but also abundantly in mast cells. Laser flow cytometry of peritoneal cells in vitro revealed abundant expression of NOS1 in mast cells. Interestingly, NOS3 occurred in endothelia of capillaries and venules but not in those of distal arterioles with comparable diameters. These results suggest that the arterioles receive NO from nonendothelial origins involving NOS1 present in nerve terminals and mast cells, whereas venules depend on the endothelial NOS as a major source. Furthermore, nonenzymatic sources of NO from circulating reservoirs constitute a notable fraction throughout different classes of microvessels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e55-e64
JournalCirculation research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Diaminofluorescein
  • Mast cells
  • Microcirculation
  • Neural NO synthase
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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