In histochemical studies using fixed brain tissue, NADPH-diaphorase has been found to be colocalized with soluble nitric oxide synthase. In the present study, using fresh tissues from eight different regions of rat brain, NADPH-diaphorase activity was found mostly in the particulate fraction, whereas most of the nitric oxide synthase activity was located to the cytosolic fraction. Also, the distribution of NADPH-diaphorase activity among brain regions was different from that of nitric oxide synthase. Pretreatment of the fractions with paraformaldehyde virtually abolished the NADPH-diaphorase activity in the particulate fraction, whereas 40-60% of the NADPH-diaphorase activity remained intact in the cytosolic fraction. These results suggest that during fixation most NADPH-diaphorase activity is inactivated and only some of the NADPH-diaphorase activity associated with soluble nitric oxide synthase remains intact. © 1993.