Experiments were designed to study whether overexpression of nitric oxide (NO) from endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) affects acute rejection. Allogenic, orthotopic single-lung transplantation was performed after transbronchial adenoviral-mediated gene transfer (3 × 108 pfu) of either of eNOS or β-galactosidase to donor lungs of rats (n = 6 each). No immunosuppression was used. After 4 days, transplanted lungs were prepared for enzyme activity, cGMP and histology. Calcium-dependent NOS activity, reflecting eNOS, was greater in eNOS-transduced lungs (587 ± 97 vs 2.1 ± 1.4 pmol/mg protein per h, P < 0.001). In contrast, calcium-independent NOS activity, reflecting iNOS, was comparable. Concentrations of cGMP were higher in eNOS-transduced lungs (13.2 ± 2.3 vs 4.9 ± 0.5 pmol/mg protein). Positive immunostaining for eNOS was present in pneumocytes only in eNOS-transduced lungs. No difference in histological grade of rejection was observed. eNOS gene transfer to pulmonary allografts results in a functionally active transgene product and increased NO production. Increasing NO from eNOS does not affect histogically identified acute rejection. © Springer-Verlag 2000.