The presence of NADPH diaphorase staining was compared with the immunohistochemical localization of four NADPH-dependent enzymes - neuronal (type I), inducible (type II), and endothelial (type III) nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and cytochrome P450 reductase. Cell types that were immunoreactive for the NADPH-dependent enzymes were also stained for NADPH diaphorase, suggesting that endothelial and neuronal NOS and cytochrome P450 reductase all show NADPH diaphorase activity in formaldehyde-fixed tissue. However, in some tissues, the presence of NADPH diaphorase staining did not coincide with the presence of any of the NADPH-dependent enzymes we examined. In vascular endothelial cells, the punctate pattern of staining observed with NADPH diaphorase histochemistry was identical to that seen following immunohistochemistry using antibodies to endothelial NOS. In enteric and pancreatic neurons and in skeletal muscle, the presence of NADPH diaphorase staining correlated with the presence of neuronal NOS. In the liver, sebaceous glands of the skin, ciliated epithelium, and a subpopulation of the cells in the subserosal glands of the trachea, zona glomerulosa of the adrenal cortex, and epithelial cells of the lacrimal and salivary glands, the presence of NADPH diaphorase staining coincided with the presence of cytochrome P450 reductase immunoreactivity. In epithelial cells of the renal tubules and zona fasciculata and zona reticularis of the adrenal cortex, NADPH diaphorase staining was observed that did not coincide with the presence of any of the enzymes. Inducible NOS was not observed in any tissue. Thus, while tissues that demonstrate immunoreactivity for neuronal and endothelial NOS also stain positively for NADPH diaphorase activity, the presence of NADPH diaphorase staining does not reliably or specifically indicate the presence of one or more NOS isoforms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Medical Laboratory Technology
- Cell Biology