Neuronal colocalization of peptides, catecholamines, and catecholamine-synthesizing enzymes in guinea pig paracervical ganglia.

J. L. Morris, I. L. Gibbins

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151 Citations (Scopus)


The patterns of colocalization of neuropeptides, catecholamines, and catecholamine-synthesizing enzymes were examined in principal neurons and nerve terminals in guinea pig paracervical ganglia using a double-labeling immunohistochemical procedure. A small proportion of nerve cell bodies (less than 10%) had the characteristics of catecholamine-synthesizing neurons and presumably were noradrenergic. Another 50% of the nerve cell bodies contained immunoreactivity (IR) to dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH), but did not have any other characteristics of noradrenergic neurons; they did not contain detectable catecholamines, or IR to dopa decarboxylase (DDC) or tyrosine (TH) hydroxylase, nor did they take up exogenous catecholamines. Half of the catecholamine neurons had neuropeptide Y (NPY)-IR, and a small number (0.5% total neurons) had somatostatin (Som)-IR. Most of the non-noradrenergic neurons with DBH-IR (40-50% total neurons) contained IR for dynorphin (Dyn), NPY, and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), and about half of them (20-25% total) also contained Som-IR. Ten to twenty percent of neurons contained IR to Som, but not to any other antigen examined here. Nerve terminals with substance P (SP)-IR or enkephalin (Enk)-IR were prominent in all ganglia. SP-IR fibers formed dense baskets only around those neurons with DBH/Dyn/NPY/VIP (+/- Som)-IR, while fibers with very bright Enk-IR were associated selectively with those neurons with Som-IR alone. In addition, most TH-IR nerve cell bodies were surrounded by NPY-IR varicose nerve fibers. In conclusion, this analysis of combinations of peptides and enzymes contained in principal neurons of the paracervical ganglia allows us to identify as many as 11 different neuron populations. The functional significance of the presence of the same neuropeptide (e.g., NPY) in different neuron populations is as yet unknown. Some of these classes of neurons are associated specifically with immunohistochemically distinct types of presynaptic nerve fibers, which suggests that different immunohistochemically defined classes of neurons represent different functional pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3117-3130
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1987


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