In this paper we report on the biochemical presence of nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-like activity in Ascaris suum tissue and examine the pharmacological effect of NO donors on A. suum muscle strip preparation. NOS activity was determined by monitoring the formation of [3H]citrulline from [3H]L-arginine and NO formation via the oxyhaemoglobin assay. Neuromuscular tissue from A. suum which stained positively for NADPH diaphorase, contained NOS activity. Neither NOS activity nor NADPH diaphorase staining was detected in intestinal tissue. The absence of Ca2+, NADPH and other co-factors normally required for mammalian neuronal NOS activity only partially reduced the formation of both citrulline and NO by A. suum neuromuscular homogenate. The results of the biochemical assays indicate the presence of an enzyme capable of producing NO and citrulline, but with a different profile from that of rat neuronal NOS. We also present preliminary evidence for the action of NO (NO donors) in the neuromuscular system of A. suum.
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