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Immunohistochemical characterisation of sympathetic and parasympathetic pelvic neurons projecting to the distal colon in the male rat

, : Immunohistochemical characterisation of sympathetic and parasympathetic pelvic neurons projecting to the distal colon in the male rat. Cell & Tissue Research. 281(3): 551-559

The pelvic ganglia are mixed ganglia containing both sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons that receive spinal input via the hypogastric (lumbar cord) and pelvic nerves (sacral cord), respectively. A recent study has utilized immunohistochemistry against synaptophysin (a protein associated with small vesicles) to visualize the preganglionic terminals in these ganglia. By selectively cutting the hypogastric or pelvic nerves and allowing subsequent terminal degeneration, the populations of parasympathetic and sympathetic preganglionic terminals, respectively, can be visualized. The present study has used this method in conjunction with retrograde labelling of pelvic neurons from the distal colon and double label immunofluorescence against tyrosine hydroxylase and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) to identify and characterize the sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons projecting to the distal colon from the major pelvic ganglia of the male rat. Approximately equal numbers of distal colonic-projecting pelvic neurons are sympathetic and parasympathetic. Almost all noradrenergic neurons are sympathetic. Of the VIP neurons that project to the distal colon approximately one third are sympathetic, one third parasympathetic and the remaining third are possibly innervated by both the lumbar and sacral cord. Extrapolation from our results also suggests that the majority of non-noradrenergic neuropeptide Y neurons (which are known to comprise the remainder of the neurons) are parasympathetic. These studies have demonstrated that the pelvic ganglia are a major source of sympathetic innervation to the distal bowel and have further shown that the distal colon is another target for the non-noradrenergic sympathetic neurons of the pelvic ganglia.


PMID: 7553774

DOI: 10.1007/bf00417873

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