Neurotoxicity research

The Presence of the Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase Isoform in the Intervertebral Disk.

PMID 27761804


Intervertebral disk degeneration is a progressive and debilitating disease with multifactorial causes. Nitric oxide (NO) might contribute to the cell death pathway. We evaluated the presence of the constitutive form of the neuronal NOS (nNOS) in both health and degenerated intervertebral disk through qPCR and immunohistochemistry. We also analyzed the potential role of nNOS modulation in the tail needle puncture model of intervertebral disk degeneration. Male Wistar rats were submitted to percutaneous disk puncture with a 21-gauge needle of coccygeal vertebras. The selective nNOS pharmacological inhibitor N ((ω))-propyl-L-arginine (NPLA) or a nNOS-target siRNA (siRNAnNOShum_4400) was injected immediately after the intervertebral disk puncture with a 30-gauge needle. Signs of disk degeneration were analyzed by in vivo magnetic resonance imaging and histological score. We found that intact intervertebral disks express low levels of nNOS mRNA. Disk injury caused a 4 fold increase in nNOS mRNA content at 5xa0h post disk lesion. However, NPLA or nNOS-target siRNA slight mitigate the intervertebral disk degenerative progress. Our data show evidence of the nNOS presence in the intervertebral disk and its upregulation during degeneration. Further studies would disclose the nNOS role and its potential therapeutical value in the intervertebral disk degeneration.