Subpopulations of sympathetic neurons project to specific vascular targets in the pinna of the rabbit ear

Judy L. Morris, Bao Song Zhu, Ian L. Gibbins, William W. Blessing

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    26 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We have characterised sympathetic neurons projecting to a range of cutaneous and striated muscle vascular targets in the pinna of the rabbit ear by examining neurotransmitter-related enzymes and peptides in perivascular axons and in somata identified by retrograde axonal tracing. Fast Blue was injected into one of seven sites in each pinna (n = 21 pinnae). The soma cross-sectional area and immunoreactivity (IR) for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) were determined for each of 2,041 retrogradely labelled neurons in the ipsilateral superior cervical ganglion (SCG) or stellate ganglion (StG). Larger neurons in the SCG with TH-IR but not NPY-IR projected predominantly to veins along the medial edge of the pinna. Larger neurons in the StG with TH-IR but not NPY-IR projected predominantly to arteries and veins in the tip and lateral edge of the pinna. Smaller neurons in the SCG with IR to both TH and NPY projected predominantly to arteries in the striated muscles at the base of the ear. The smallest retrogradely labelled neurons in the SCG or StG lacked TH-IR but contained NPY-IR and projected almost exclusively to arterial vessels in the lateral muscle at the base of the ear. Thus, somata of sympathetic neurons projecting to cutaneous versus striated muscle vessels or to different regions of the cutaneous bed could be distinguished by a combination of location, size, and immunohistochemical profile. Consequently, regulation of blood flow within the rabbit ear is likely to involve coordination between neuronal pathways containing neurochemically and morphologically distinct populations of sympathetic neurons.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-160
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
    Volume412
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 1999

    Keywords

    • Cutaneous vessels
    • Neuropeptide Y
    • Striated muscle vessels
    • Vasoconstrictor neurons

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