The role of nitric oxide (NO) in traumatic brain injury (TBI)-induced sensory motor function and brain pathology was examined using intracerebral administration of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) antiserum in a rat model. TBI was produced by a making a longitudinal incision into the right parietal cerebral cortex limited to the dorsal surface of the hippocampus. Focal TBI induces profound edematous swelling, extravasation of Evans blue dye, and up-regulation of nNOS in the injured cerebral cortex and the underlying subcortical areas at 5 hours. The traumatized animals exhibited pronounced sensory motor deficit, as seen using Rota-Rod and grid-walking tests. Intracerebral administration of nNOS antiserum (1 : 20) 5 minutes and 1 hour after TBI significantly attenuated brain edema formation, Evans blue leakage, and nNOS expression in the injured cortex and the underlying subcortical regions. The nNOS antiserum-treated rats showed improved sensory motor functions. However, administration of nNOS antiserum 2 hours after TBI did not influence these parameters significantly. These novel observations suggest that NO participates in blood-brain barrier disruption, edema formation, and sensory motor disturbances in the early phase of TBI, and that nNOS antiserum has some potential therapeutic value requiring additional investigation.