VIP-immunoreactive (IR) nerves were visualized in whole mounts and sections of cephalic arteries and cranial nerves of cats with indirect immunofluorescence. Perivascular VIP-IR nerves were very widely distributed in arteries and arterioles supplying glands, muscles and mucous membranes of the face. Within the cerebral circulation, perivascular VIP-IR nerves were most abundant in the Circle of Willis and the proximal portions of the major cerebral arteries and their proximal branches supplying the rostral brain stem and ventral areas of the cerebral cortex. VIP-IR nerves were absent from arterial branches supplying the posterior brain stem, cerebellum and dorsal cerebral cortex. Cerebral perivascular VIP-IR nerves probably arise from VIP-IR perikarya within microganglia found in the cavernous plexus and external rete. Extracerebral perivascular VIP-IR nerves probably arise from VIP-IR perikarya in microganglia associated with the tympanic plexus, chorda tympani, lingual nerve and Vidian nerve as well as from cells in the otic, sphenopalatine, submandibular and sublingual ganglia. It seems likely, therefore, that each major segment of the cephalic circulation is supplied by local VIP-IR neurons.
- Indirect immunofluorescence
- VIP-immunoreactive neurons