Stimulation of the superior laryngeal nerve (SLN) causes a potentiation of hypoglossal nerve activity persisting after cessation of stimulation. The mechanism of this phenomenon is uncertain. We investigated a potential role of the nitric oxide (NO) pathway in modulation of the after-effects of SLN stimulation on phrenic and hypoglossal activity in rabbits. L-Arginine, a substrate for NO synthesis and NG-Nitro-L-Arginine (L-NNA) an inhibitor of NO synthase (NOS), were administered systemically. L-Arginine and L-NNA alone caused small changes in respiratory activity. During pre-treatment with NO precursor the amplitude and duration of hypoglossal potentiation evoked by SLN stimulation were reduced. Systemic NO synthase inhibition partially reversed these effects of L-Arginine. The results showed that interference with NO production by NO substrate and NOS inhibitor modulates the effects of SLN stimulation on hypoglossal activity. Nitric oxide might be a negative modulator of the transmission of short-term potentiation (STP) in hypoglossal activity.