Localization of choline acetyltransferase in rat peripheral sympathetic neurons and its coexistence with nitric oxide synthase and neuropeptides

Miguel A. Morales, Kristina Holmberg, Zhi Qing Xu, Costatino Cozzari, Boyd K. Hartman, Piers Emson, Menek Goldstein, Lars Gösta Elfvin, Tomas Hökfelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations

Abstract

Indirect immunofluorescence methods using a mouse monoclonal antibody raised to rat choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) revealed dense networks of ChAT-immunoreactive fibers in the superior cervical ganglion, the stellate ganglion, and the celiac superior mesenteric ganglion of the rat. Numerous and single ChAT-immunoreactive cell bodies were observed in the stellate and superior cervical ganglia, respectively. The majority of ChAT-immunoreactive fibers in the stellate and superior cervical ganglia were nitric oxide synthase (NOS) positive. Some ChAT-immunoreactive fibers contained enkephalin-like immunoreactivity. Virtually all ChAT-positive cell bodies in the stellate ganglion were vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP)-positive, and some were calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-positive. After transection of the cervical sympathetic trunk almost all ChAT- and NOS- positive fibers and most enkephalin- and CGRP-positive fibers disappeared in the superior cervical ganglion. The results suggest that most preganglionic fibers are cholinergic and that the majority of these in addition can release nitric oxide, some enkephalin, and a few CGRP. Acetylcholine, VIP, and CGRP are coexisting messenger molecules in some postganglionic sympathetic neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11819-11823
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume92
Issue number25
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 5 1995

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