Type II (inducible) nitric oxide synthase (NOS) may play an important role in pulmonary pathophysiology, yet it remains controversial whether human tissues are capable of expressing this protein. Therefore, a polyclonal antibody (8196) was raised against type II NOS from induced RAW 264.7 macrophages and used to investigate the expression of this enzyme in human lung tissue. Anti-type II NOS antibody did not cross-react with either neuronal (type I) or endothelial (type III) constitutive NOS, whereas a 130- kDa protein was detected in cytosol from induced macrophages or liver removed from lipopolysaccharide (25 mg/kg)-treated rats. Cells or tissues that lacked NOS activity did not express immunoreactive proteins. Similarly, in grossly normal human lung tissue, no immunoreactivity was detected with the anti- type II NOS antibody. In contrast, strong immunoreactivity was detected in alveolar macrophages present in lung tissue from a patient with bronchiectasis and acute bronchopneumonia. These data demonstrate that human alveolar macrophages are able to express type II NOS and support a role for this enzyme in pulmonary inflammatory pathophysiology.