Haem oxygenase in enteric nervous system of human stomach and jejunum and co-localization with nitric oxide synthase

S. M. Miller, Darcy Reed, M. G. Sarr, G. Farrugia, J. H. Szurszewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Recent evidence suggests that carbon monoxide (CO) may be a neurotransmitter, similar to nitric oxide (NO) in the enteric nervous system. The distribution of haem oxygenase (HO), the biosynthetic enzyme for CO, has been determined in the enteric nervous system of animals, but little is known about the distribution of HO in human gastrointestinal tract. The present study investigated the expression of HO and its colocalization with NO synthase (NOS), the biosynthetic enzyme for NO, in human antrum and jejunum. HO isoforms were identified using immunohistochemistry and NOS was identified by immunohistochemistry or NADPH-d histochemistry. HO-2 immunoreactive (JR) cell bodies in enteric ganglia and nerve fibres in longitudinal and circular muscle were found in both antrum and jejunum. Co-localization of HO-2 and NOS was about 40% in HO-2 containing cell bodies of myenteric ganglia and only 10% or less in cell bodies of submucous ganglia. HO-1 immunoreactivity was not detected in antrum or jejunum. The results suggest that CO is produced in human enteric ganglion neurones and indicate a possible role of CO as a neurotransmitter and possible interaction between HO and NOS pathways in inhibitory neurotransmission in the human gastrointestinal tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Carbon monoxide
  • Enteric nervous system
  • Haem oxygenase
  • Human
  • Inhibitory neurotransmission
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology


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