Immunohistochemical evidence for the NO cGMP signaling pathway in respiratory ciliated epithelia of rat

Xinhua Zhan, Dechun Li, Roger A. Johns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Airway epithelia play a crucial role in protecting the lung from the external environment. Ciliated airway epithelial cells contribute to mucociliary transport systems via ciliary beating and electrolyte transport mechanisms to defend against respiratory tract infection. Both of these activities are regulated by nitric oxide (NO)-dependent mechanisms. To better understand the role of the NO-cGMP signal transduction cascade in these responses, we investigated the localization of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC), cGMP-dependent protein kinase-(PKG) I-α, and PKG I-β in the tracheas and lungs of normal rats by immunohistochemistry. Mouse anti-eNOS, rabbit anti-sGC, PKG I-α, and PKG I- β antibodies were used. Strong immunostaining for eNOS was detected in ciliated tracheal, bronchial, and bronchiolar epithelia, in Clara cells, and in Type II alveolar cells. The pattern of sGC and PKG I-β immunostaining showed striking parallels with that of eNOS staining. No staining was detectable in ciliated epithelium with the anti-PKG I-α antibody. Taken together, these observations suggest that PKG I-β might transduce NO-sGC signaling into biological responses in ciliated respiratory epithelia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1369-1374
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Airway epithelium
  • CGMP-dependent protein
  • Ciliary beating frequency
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kinase
  • Nitric oxide
  • Soluble guanylate cyclase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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