Temporal expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase in mouse and human placenta

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

Mol Hum Reprod

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Molecular human reproduction

PubMed ID


Start Page


End Page



The aim of this study is to investigate the changes in expression and activity of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in the developing murine embryo and mouse and human placenta. Using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Northern blotting, and in-situ hybridization (ISH) we identified iNOS mRNA in mouse placenta at 9.5, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 days post coitum. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that the quantity of murine iNOS transcript was expressed at a stable level between days 12-20 although the level of calcium-independent NOS activity declined with advancing gestation. RT-PCR detected iNOS-specific mRNA in murine embryonic stem cells, but not in embryos at later stages (4-cell or blastocyst). ISH failed to show iNOS-specific mRNA in either murine placenta or the underlying myometrium on day 7, but did so in the trophoblast by day 9.5. Later in gestation, extensive labelling was observed in both spongiotrophoblast and trophoblast giant cells. iNOS mRNA was also detected both in immature human placentae (16-18 weeks) and at term, predominantly in syncytiotrophoblasts and placental artery smooth muscle. In conclusion, iNOS is constitutively expressed in mouse and human placenta at a time and in a location that suggests a role in placentation.


Animals, Blotting, Northern, Calcium/metabolism, Embryo, Mammalian/enzymology, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Gestational Age, Humans, In Situ Hybridization/methods, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Nitric Oxide Synthase/genetics/metabolism, Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II, Placenta/enzymology, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, Second/physiology, RNA, Messenger/analysis, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Stem Cells/enzymology, Uterus/enzymology

Published Article/Book Citation

Molecular human reproduction, 5:3 (1999) pp.277-286.

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