Background & Aims Histochemical studies indicate that reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate diaphorase, the nitric oxide synthase-related enzyme, is present in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus of the cat. We have previously shown in vitro that NO synthase is present in this nucleus in the rat and that the excitatory effect of N-methyl-d-aspartate on these neurons is in part caused by NO formation. The aim of this study was to obtain functional evidence for the presence of NO synthase in the cat dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus. Methods l-Glutamate, l-arginine, d-arginine, the NO donor S-nitroso-N-acetyl-penicillamine, and the NO synthase inhibitor NG-nitro-l-arginine-methyl ester were unilaterally microinjected into the rostral dorsal motor nucleus of anesthetized cats, and antral and pyloric motility were monitored using extraluminal force transducers. Results Microinjection of l-arginine increased gastric motility, whereas d-arginine had no effect. Vagotomy eliminated the l-arginine-induced increases. Microinjection of S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine increased antral motility. NG-Nitro-l-arginine-methyl ester prevented l-arginine from exerting an effect on gastric motility. Conclusions Motility increases obtained after microinjection of l-arginine into the dorsal motor nucleus and prevention of these motility increases with microinjection of a NO synthase inhibitor provide functional evidence for the presence of NO synthase in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus in the cat.
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