We aimed to determine the changes of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) immunoreactivity and apoptosis after proximal and distal obstruction models on ipsilateral and contralateral testicular tissues. Mate albino Wistar rats were randomly divided into three groups (n = 30): a control group which underwent sham operations (n = 10), a unilateral vasal ligation (n = 10) and a unilateral epididymal ligation group (n = 10). iNOS and eNOS distribution and apoptosis were studied in both ipsilateral and contralateral testes using quantitative immunohistochemistry. Nitric oxide synthase activity was significantly affected in ipsilateral and contralateral testes cells after vasal and epididymal ligation. eNOS immunoreactivity increased markedly after ipsilateral vasal ligation (ILVL). Degeneration-related changes were also associated with changes in apoptotic rate. Analysis using the terminal dUTP nick end-labeling TUNEL method revealed that apoptotic cell numbers significantly increased after ILVL. p53 and bcl-2 immunoreactivity increased in both experimental groups compared with the sham-operated group. Changes in iNOS and eNOS immunolocalisation were strongly associated with cell damage, because germ cell degeneration was more prominent in the ILVL group. Altered p53 immunolocalisation was also associated with cell degeneration, and a rise in bcl-2 immunoreactivity might be considered to reflect a protective mechanism in the testis. These cellular changes could enlighten understanding of the interaction between testicular functioning and damage. (c) 2008 Elsevier GmbH. All. rights reserved.