NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry was used to establish the nature of neurons and nerve fibers in the rat anococcygeus muscle. NADPH-diaphorase-reactive nerve cell bodies were found in ganglia in the caudal dorsal fascia of the muscle and within the muscle itself. The reactive nerve cells had a relatively smooth surface and a single axon. They formed bundles of positive nerve fibers which entered the muscle and branched further to form a network extending towards the cranial end. In addition, bundles of NADPH-diaphorase-reactive fibers of extrinsic origin joined the loose plexus of local bundles and microganglia. The NADPH-diaphorase-reactive neurons supplying the rat anococcygeus muscle provide a neuroanatomical basis for the non-adrenergic non-cholinergic relaxation of the muscle mediated by nitric oxide.
- Anococcygeus muscle
- Nitric oxide synthase