Loss of sarcolemmal nNOS is common in acquired and inherited neuromuscular disorders

E. L. Finanger Hedderick, J. L. Simmers, A. Soleimani, E. Andres-Mateos, R. Marx, D. C. Files, L. King, T. O. Crawford, A. M. Corse, R. D. Cohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), normally expressed at the sarcolemmal membrane, is known to be mislocalized to the sarcoplasm in several forms of muscular dystrophy. Our objectives were to characterize further the range of patients manifesting aberrant nNOS sarcolemmal immunolocalization and to study nNOS localization in animal models of nondystrophic myopathy. Methods: We carried out a retrospective cross-sectional study. We performed immunofluorescent staining for nNOS on biopsy specimens from 161 patients with acquired and nondystrophin inherited neuromuscular conditions. The localization of sarcolemmal nNOS correlated with mobility and functional status. Muscle specimens from mouse models of steroid-induced and starvation-related atrophy were studied for qualitative and quantitative nNOS expression. Results: Sarcolemmal nNOS staining was abnormal in 42% of patients with inherited myopathic conditions, 25% with acquired myopathic conditions, 57% with neurogenic conditions, and 93% with hypotonia. Interestingly, we found significant associations between mobility status or muscle function and sarcolemmal nNOS expression. Furthermore, mouse models of catabolic stress also demonstrated mislocalization of sarcolemmal nNOS. Conclusion: Our analyses indicate that nNOS mislocalization is observed in a broad range of nondystrophic neuromuscular conditions associated with impaired mobility status and catabolic stress. Our findings suggest that the assessment of sarcolemmal localization of nNOS represents an important tool for the evaluation of muscle biopsies of patients with a variety of inherited and acquired forms of neuromuscular disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)960-967
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 15 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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