We investigated Nitric Oxide (NO) production and the presence of Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS) in the Mammary Gland by use of an organ culture system of rat Mammary Glands.
Mammary Glands were excised from the inguinal parts of female Wistar-MS rats primed by implantation with pellets of 17ß-Estradiol and Progesterone and were diced into approximately 3-mm cubes.
Three of these cubes were cultured with 2 ml of 10% FCS/DMEM plus carboxy-PTIO (an NO scavenger, 100 microM) in the presence or absence of LPS (0.5 microgram/ml) for 2 days.
The amount of NO produced spontaneously by the cultured Mammary Glands was relatively minute at the end of the 2-day culture period, and the NO production was significantly enhanced by the presence of LPS.
This enhancement of NO production was completely eliminated by addition of HydroCortisone (3 microM), an inhibitor of inducible NOS (iNOS), to the incubation medium. Immunoblot analyzes with specific AntiSera against NOS isoforms such as iNOS.
Endothelial NOS (eNOS), and Brain NOS (bNOS) showed ImmunoReactive bands of iNOS (122 +/- 2 kD) and eNOS (152 +/- 3 kD) in extracts prepared from the Mammary Glands in the culture without LPS.
The ImmunoReactive band of iNOS was highly intense after the treatment of Mammary Glands with LPS, whereas the corresponding eNOS Immunoreactive band was faded.
The ImmunoHistoChemical study of anti-iNOS AntiSerum on frozen sections of the cultured Mammary Glands showed that an ImmunoReactive substance with the AntiSerum was localized to the basal layer (composed of MyoEpithelial Cells of Alveoli and Lactiferous Ducts) of the Mammary Epithelia.
And to the Endothelium of blood vessels that penetrated into the Interstitium of the Mammary Glands.
HistoChemical staining for NADPH-diaphorase activity, which is identical to NOS, showed localization similar to that of iNOS in the Mammary Glands.
Similar observations were noted in the ImmunoHistoChemistry of eNOS. In contrast, the ImmunoReactive signal with the bNOS AntiSerum was barely detected in the Epithelial parts of Alveoli and Lactiferous Ducts of the Mammary Glands.
These observations demonstrate that three isoforms of NOS are present not only in the Endothelium of blood vessels, but also in the Parenchymal Cells (the glandular Epithelium) of the rat Mammary Gland.
Such as Epithelial Cells and MyoEpithelial Cells, and suggest that NO may have functional roles in the physiology of the Mammary Glands.