In the human prostate, the distribution of heme oxygenase (HO-1 and HO-2)-, nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-, and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunoreactive (IR), acetylcholine-esterase (AChE)-positive, and some peptidergic nerve structures was investigated. Cell bodies and nerve fibers within coarse nerve trunks expressed HO-1-, HO-2-, NOS-, TH-, and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP)-immunoreactivities, and were AChE-positive, but, as revealed by confocal microscopy. HO- and NOS-immunoreactivities were found in separate nerves. Along strains of smooth muscle, intraglandular septa, and around acini, HO-1-, NOS-, and VIP-IR nerves, and AChE-positive fibers were observed. Double immunostaining showed that NOS- and VIP-immunoreactivities were generally co-localized in varicose nerve terminals. Some TH-IR terminals had profiles that were similar, but not identical, to those of NOS-, HO-1-, or VIP-IR terminals. NPY-IR nerves were similarly distributed as VIP- and NOS-IR fibers, and were found in rich amounts. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-IR nerves were few compared to other nerve populations studies. NOS- and CGRP-IR terminals had similar profiles, but the immunoreactivities were not co-localized. Nitric oxide and electrical stimulation of nerves relaxed noradrenaline-contracted preparations of prostatic stroma. Inhibition of synthesis of nitric oxide abolished the electrically induced relaxations. VIP had small relaxant effects, whereas carbon monoxide was without effect on noradrenaline-contracted strips. The innervation pattern and the functional effects suggest that the L-arginine/nitric oxide pathway may have a role in the control of human prostatic smooth muscle activity and/or in secretory neurotransmission. A physiological role of carbon monoxide in the prostate remains to be established.
Elsevier, 1997. Vol. 63, no 3, 115-126 p.