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We assessed the distribution and expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (i-NOS), endothelial nitric oxide synthase (e-NOS), and xanthine oxidase (XAO) in usual interstitial pneumonia, desquamative interstitial pneumonia, and granulomatous diseases. The material consisted of biopsy specimens from 5 healthy subjects (nonsmokers), 9 patients with usual interstitial pneumonia, 11 with desquamative interstitial pneumonia, 14 with sarcoidosis, and 8 with extrinsic allergic alveolitis. i-NOS was expressed intensively in inflammatory but not in fibrotic lesions. It was expressed most prominently in alveolar macrophages and alveolar epithelium of all disorders and in the granulomas of sarcoidosis and extrinsic allergic alveolitis. In contrast with i-NOS, e-NOS was expressed prominently in control lung tissue samples but also in granulomas of sarcoidosis and extrinsic allergic alveolitis. Reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction performed on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid samples from patients with sarcoidosis or usual interstitial pneumonia and from healthy subjects indicated positivity for XAO, but immunohistochemical analysis in samples from healthy lung and all parenchymal lung disorders showed no immunoreactivity for XAO. i-NOS has an important role in the pathogenesis of interstitial lung diseases, being up-regulated during the inflammatory but not during the fibrotic disease stage.