Innervation of the large arteries and heart of the toad (Bufo marinus) by adrenergic and peptide-containing neurons

J. L. Morris, I. L. Gibbins, G. Campbell, R. Murphy, J. B. Furness, M. Costa

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    118 Citations (Scopus)


    The innervation of the major arteries and heart of the toad (Bufo marinus) was examined by use of glyoxylic acid-induced catecholamine fluorescence and peptide immunohistochemistry. All arteries possessed a moderate to dense plexus of adrenergic axons, which also showed neuropeptide Y-like immunoreactivity (NPY-LI). Some adrenergic axons in the intracardiac vagal trunks showed NPY-LI, but the varicose adrenergic axons innervating the cardiac muscle of the atria and ventricle, and the coronary blood vessels did not display NPY-LI. About half of the nerve cell bodies in the anterior sympathetic chain ganglia with dopamine-β-hydroxylase-LI (DBH-LI) also contained NPY-LI. The nerve cell bodies with DBH-LI alone were generally larger (median diameter 30 μm) than those with both DBH-LI and NPY-LI (median diameter 20 μm). Some cell bodies showing DBH-LI alone were surrounded by boutons with NPY-LI but not DBH-LI. Axons that displayed simultaneously both substance P-LI (SP-LI) and calcitonin gene-related peptide-LI (CGRP-LI) also formed a plexus around all arteries studied, being particularly dense around the mesenteric and pulmonary arteries. These axons are most likely sensory since SP-LI was reduced by capsaicin treatment, and nerve cell bodies with both SP-LI and CGRP-LI were found in dorsal root ganglia and the vagal ganglion. A dense plexus of axons showing somatostatin-LI was located around the pulmonary artery and its main intrapulmonary branches. A few nerves with vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-LI were found around the dorsal aorta and pulmonary artery. No perivascular nerves with enkephalin-LI were observed. Reversed-phase, high-pressure liquid chromatography of acid extracts of the large arteries showed that the major peaks of NPY-LI and SP-LI coeluted with porcine NPY (1-36) and synthetic SP (1-11), respectively. Thus, the location and structure of these peptides in perivascular nerves has been highly conserved during vertebrate evolution.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)171-184
    Number of pages14
    JournalCell and Tissue Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1986


    • Adrenergic nerves
    • Amphibia, Anura (Bufo marinus)
    • Cardiac innervation
    • Neuropeptide Y
    • Neuropeptides
    • Perivascular nerves
    • Substance P


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