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L-citrulline immunostaining identifies nitric oxide production sites within neuronsThe cellular and subcellular localization of L-citrulline was analyzed in the adult rat brain and compared with that of traditional markers for the presence of nitric oxide synthase. Light, transmission electron, and confocal laser scanning microscopy were used to study tissue sections processed for immunocytochemistry employing a monoclonal antibody against L-citrulline or polyclonal anti-neuronal nitric oxide synthase sera, and double immunofluorescence to detect neuronal nitric oxide synthase and L-citrulline co-localization. The results demonstrate that the same CNS regions and cell types are labeled by neuronal nitric oxide synthase polyclonal antisera and L-citrulline monoclonal antibodies, using both immunocytochemistry and immunofluorescence. Short-term pretreatment with a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor reduces L-citrulline immunostaining, but does not affect neuronal nitric oxide synthase immunoreactivity. In the vestibular brainstem, double immunofluorescence studies show that many, but not all, neuronal nitric oxide synthase-positive cells co-express L-citrulline, and that local intracellular patches of intense L-citrulline accumulation are present in some neurons. Conversely, all L-citrulline-labeled neurons co-express neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Cells expressing neuronal nitric oxide synthase alone are interpreted as neurons with the potential to produce nitric oxide under other stimulus conditions, and the subcellular foci of enhanced L-citrulline staining are viewed as intracellular sites of nitric oxide production. This interpretation is supported by ultrastructural observations of subcellular foci with enhanced L-citrulline and/or neuronal nitric oxide synthase staining that are located primarily at postsynaptic densities and portions of the endoplasmic reticulum. We conclude that nitric oxide is produced and released at focal sites within neurons that are identifiable using L-citrulline as a marker. Copyright 2002 IBRO.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Martinelli, G. P. T.
(Mount Sinai School of Medicine Box 1140, One Gustave Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, United States)
Friedrich, V. L. Jr
Holstein, G. R.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Publication Information
Publication: Neuroscience
Volume: 114
Issue: 1
ISSN: 0306-4522
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: 1 S10 RR0 9145-01
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Neuroscience
Non-NASA Center

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