The NADPH-diaphorase reaction was used to determine the distribution of postganglionic autonomic neurons in the branches of the glossopharyngeal and vagus nerves supplying the gill arches of the cod fish, Gadus morhua. Neurons were common in major nerve trunks in all gill arches, especially in the post-trematic rami of the branchial nerves. From about 55% to more than 85% of the neurons in any branchial nerve were reactive for NADPH-diaphorase. The results suggest that the presence of NADPH-diaphorase, and presumably the ability to synthesise nitric oxide, have been a property of cranial parasympathetic neurons from early in the evolution of the vertebrates.
- Cranial nerves
- Nitric oxide