BACKGROUNDInducible nitric oxide synthase (nitric oxide synthase 2, NOS 2) inhibition significantly suppresses chronically ischaemic skin flap survival, possibly because of reduced angiogenesis.OBJECTIVESTo investigate the effect of genetic NOS 2 inhibition on cutaneous wound angiogenesis in two in vivo murine models. The impact of NOS 2 manipulation on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A stimulated and fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 stimulated angiogenesis was also investigated in the Matrigel(®) plug assay.METHODS(i) Matrigel plugs/incisional wounds: two groups of NOS 2-/- mice and two groups of wild-type (WT) mice had bilateral Matrigel plugs containing 500 ng mL(-1) VEGF-A or 1000 ng mL(-1) FGF-2 injected subcutaneously in the abdomen. A 2·5 cm long dorsal incisional skin wound was created and sutured closed in the same animals. Wounds and plugs were explored at 7 or 12 days. (ii) Excisional wounds: dorsal 0·5 × 1·0 cm excisional skin wounds were created in four groups (two NOS 2-/- and two WT) and explored at 7 or 14 days. Wounds and Matrigel plugs were examined histologically and morphometrically for determination of percentage vascular volume (PVV).RESULTSThe PVV in NOS 2-/- incisional wounds and excisional wounds was significantly less than in WT wounds (P = 0·05 and P < 0·001, respectively). The PVV was significantly less in VEGF-A stimulated Matrigel plugs compared with FGF-2 stimulated plugs in NOS 2-/- mice (P < 0·01), but not in WT mice.CONCLUSIONSNOS 2 is significantly involved in angiogenic signalling in healing skin wounds, particularly within the first 7 days. However, Matrigel plug vascularization suggests that the role of NOS 2 in angiogenesis is related to VEGF-A but not FGF-2 stimulated angiogenesis.