• nitric oxide;
  • confocal microscopy;
  • diaminoanthraquinone;
  • epilepsy;
  • hippocampal neurons;
  • penicillin G;
  • glutamate

A method for the direct measurement of intracellular nitric oxide (NO) production stimulated by penicillin G (PG) in cultured hippocampal neurons with diaminoanthraquinone (DAA) using laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSCM) was developed. Intracellular DAA fluorescence could specifically represent NO production based on two facts: (1) 3-morpholinosydnonimine, a NO donor, could dose-dependently increase DAA fluorescence; and (2) haemoglobin, a NO scavenger, could inhibit the increase of DAA fluorescence. The PG dose-dependently increasd the intercellular level of glutamate (Glu, 5min after stimulation) and the intracellular NO production (30min throughout stimulation). The increase of NO production could be reversed by Nw-nitro- l -arginine (a NO synthase inhibitor), and also by d (−)2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid, a subtype of Glu receptor antagonist. These results revealed that DAA could be used to indicate real-time and kinetic intracellular NO production of hippocampal neurons with higher sensitivity, specificity and accuracy.