[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Our purpose was to identify and localize intrinsic cardiac ganglia innervating distinct regions of the heart using postmortem tracing of nerve projections with DiI, a method not previously used to study the intrinsic cardiac nervous system. We also investigated the possibility of collateral innervation of myocardium and intrinsic ganglia. In isolated paraformaldehyde-fixed guinea pig hearts, crystals of DiI (1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate) were inserted into the posterior ventricular myocardium below the atrioventricular groove, the right atrium, or the left ventricular septum. Hearts were placed in the dark at 37 degrees C for 2-14 weeks to allow DiI diffusion within neuronal membranes. Labeled neurons were observed in intracardiac ganglia after at least 4 weeks of dye exposure. Labeling was restricted to the inferior-most ganglia (those near the atrioventricular groove) when DiI was inserted into the posterior ventricular myocardium and to ganglia near the sinus node after right atrial DiI placement. Application of DiI to the left ventricular septum resulted in neuron labeling in ganglia primarily in the interatrial septum near the atrioventricular node. After 8 weeks, DiI-labeled nerve fibers and varicosities were seen surrounding unlabeled neurons in some ganglia, suggesting that axons terminating in or passing through the DiI application site in posterior ventricular tissue had collateral branches innervating these ganglia. These results indicate that intrinsic innervation of major cardiac subdivisions is accomplished by regionally segregated cardiac ganglia. Also, tracing with DiI has provided evidence for collateral nerve projections that could be the substrate for novel intracardiac regulatory circuits.
Full-text available · Article · Aug 2005 · The Anatomical Record Part A Discoveries in Molecular Cellular and Evolutionary Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Tachykinins and their receptors are present in gustatory centers, but little is known about tachykinin function in gustation. In this study, immunohistochemical localization of substance P and two centrally prevalent neurokinin receptors, NK1 and NK3, was carried out in the rostral nucleus of the solitary tract and the caudal parabrachial nucleus to evaluate regional receptor/ligand correspondences. All three proteins showed regional variations in labeling density that correlated with distinct sites in gustatory centers. In the rostral nucleus of the solitary tract, the relative densities of substance P and NK1 receptors varied in parallel across subnuclei, with both being moderate to dense in the dorsocentral, chemoresponsive zone. NK3 receptors had a distinct distribution in the caudal half of this zone, suggesting a unique role in processing taste input from the posterior tongue. In the caudal parabrachial nucleus, substance P and NK1 receptor immunoreactivities were dense in the pontine taste area, while NK3 receptor labeling was sparse. The external medial subnucleus had substantial NK3 receptor and substance P labeling, but little NK1 receptor immunoreactivity. These findings suggest that distinct tachykinin ligand/neurokinin receptor combinations may be important in local processing of information within brainstem gustatory centers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: This study was conducted to establish the presence of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CARTp) immunoreactivity in neurons and fibers within guinea pig atrial whole-mount preparations containing the intrinsic cardiac ganglia. Many cardiac ganglia, but not all, in a given whole-mount preparation, were innervated by CARTp-immunoreactive (IR) fibers. Following explant culture of whole mounts for 72 hours, the CARTp-IR fiber networks were absent, but the number of CARTp-IR neurons was increased markedly. These observations suggested that the majority of the CARTp-IR fibers in the intracardiac ganglia were derived from sources extrinsic to the heart. In control whole-mount preparations, very few CARTp-positive neurons were present. The few intrinsic CARTp-IR neurons also exhibited choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) immunoreactivity, indicating that they make up a small subpopulation of cholinergic postganglionic neurons. Some CARTp-IR neurons also exhibited nitric oxide synthase (NOS) immunoreactivity, indicating that they were nitrergic as well. We compared the immunohistochemical staining patterns of CARTp-IR fibers with the staining patterns of a number of other neurotransmitters or neurotransmitter synthetic enzymes that mark specific extrinsic inputs. The CARTp-IR fibers were not immunoreactive for ChAT, tyrosine hydroxylase, calcitonin gene-related peptide, or substance P. However, virtually all CARTp-IR fibers exhibited immunoreactivity to neuronal NOS (a marker for nitric oxide-producing neurons). CARTp-IR cells and NOS-IR cells were present in the nodose ganglia. In addition, CARTp-IR neurons in the nodose also were stained positively for NADPH-diaphorase. Thus, we propose that most CARTp-IR fibers within the guinea pig intrinsic cardiac ganglia are vagal afferent fibers that also contain NOS.
Full-text available · Article · Oct 2001 · The Journal of Comparative Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The distribution of neurons in the rostral nucleus of the solitary tract (rNST) that respond to gustatory input from the anterior tongue was visualized by Fos protein immunohistochemistry following electrical stimulation of the chorda tympani (CT) nerve in rats. Maps of Fos-immunoreactive (Fos-ir) neurons were compared with the distribution of CT afferent terminal fields labeled by transganglionic transport of rhodamine-dextran in a separate group of animals. The primary concentration of Fos-ir neurons localized in register with the major terminal fields of CT afferent fibers, in the central third of the rostral 1.0 mm of the NST ipsilateral to the stimulated nerve. A similar correspondence in location and degree of labeling of Fos-ir neurons and afferent terminals was observed in the ipsilateral dorsal spinal trigeminal complex (Sp5) pars caudalis, near the obex, and the Sp5 pars oralis near the rostral pole of the rNST. Thus, the magnitude of Fos upregulation in brainstem targets of the CT nerve having chemosensory or nociceptive function, was proportional to the relative density of the CT afferent input. This correspondence, and the absence of labeling in neurons known to be one additional synapse away from the afferent input within gustatory or oral reflex pathways, suggests that the cell map obtained represents mainly neurons that are directly activated via primary afferent synapses from CT fibers. The availability of a method to histochemically identify a population of putative second-order taste neurons will facilitate analysis of the cellular/molecular properties of these neurons and of synaptic circuitry in the rNST.