Neuronal nitric oxide synthase expression in cerebellar mutant mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nitric oxide (NO) is a diffusible, multifunctional signaling molecule found in many areas of the brain. NO signaling is involved in a wide array of neurophysiological functions including synaptogenesis, modulation of neurotransmitter release, synaptic plasticity, central nervous system blood flow and cell death. NO synthase (NOS) activity regulates the production of NO and the cerebellum expresses high levels of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in granule, stellate and basket cells. Cerebellar mutant mice provide excellent opportunities to study changes of NO/NOS concentrations and activities to gain a greater understanding of the roles of NO and NOS in cerebellar function. Here, we have reviewed the current understanding of the functional roles of NO and NOS in the cerebellum and present NO/NOS activities that have been described in various cerebellar mutant mice and NOS knockout mice. NO appears to exert neuroprotective effects at low to moderate concentrations, whereas NO becomes neurotoxic as the concentration increases. Excessive NO production can cause oxidative stress to neurons, ultimately impairing neuronal function and result in neuronal cell death. Based on their genetics and cerebellar histopathology, some of cerebellar mutant mice display similarities with human neurological conditions and may prove to be valuable models to study several human neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia.

published proceedings

  • Cerebellum

author list (cited authors)

  • Abbott, L. C., & Nahm, S.

citation count

  • 20

complete list of authors

  • Abbott, Louise C||Nahm, Sang-Soep

publication date

  • December 2004