The localization of neuronal nitric oxide synthase may influence its role in neuronal precursor proliferation and synaptic maintenance

Jijun Chen, Yajun Tu, Cheil Moon, Valéry Matarazzo, Amy M. Palmer, Gabriele V. Ronnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) is implicated in some developmental processes, including neuronal survival, differentiation, and precursor proliferation. To define the roles of nNOS in neuronal development, we utilized the olfactory system as a model. We hypothesized that the role of nNOS may be influenced by its localization. nNOS expression was developmentally regulated in the olfactory system. During early postnatal development, nNOS was expressed in developing neurons in the olfactory epithelium (OE), while in the adult its expression was restricted to periglomerular (PG) cells in the olfactory bulb (OB). At postnatal week 1 (P1W), loss of nNOS due to targeted gene deletion resulted in a decrease in immature neurons in the OE due to decreased proliferation of neuronal precursors. While the pool of neuronal precursors and neurogenesis normalized in the nNOS null mouse by P6W, there was an overgrowth of mitral or tufted cells dendrites and a decreased number of active synapses in the OB. Cyclic GMP (cGMP) immunostaining was reduced in the OE and in the glomeruli of the OB at early postnatal and adult ages, respectively. Our results suggest that nNOS appears necessary for neurogenesis in the OE during early postnatal development and for glomerular organization in the OB in the adult. Thus, the location of nNOS, either within cell bodies or perisynaptically, may influence its developmental role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-182
Number of pages18
JournalDevelopmental biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • BrdU
  • Development
  • NO
  • NOS
  • NST
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neuron-specific tubulin type III
  • Neuronal nitric oxide synthase
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • OMP
  • ORN
  • Olfactory glomerulus
  • Olfactory marker protein
  • Olfactory neurons
  • Olfactory receptor neuron
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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