Innervation of orbital and choroidal blood vessels by the pterygopalatine ganglion in pigeons

S. Cuthbertson, B. Jackson, C. Toledo, M. E.C. Fitzgerald, Y. F. Shih, Y. Zagvazdin, Anton Reiner

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Abstract

Orbital and choroidal blood vessels in mammals are known to receive a parasympathetic innervation from the pterygopalatine ganglion, which appears to utilize vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and nitric oxide (NO) to increase choroidal blood flow. The present studies were undertaken to elucidate the anatomical and neurotransmitter organization of the pterygopalatine ganglion input to orbital and choroidal blood vessels in pigeons. Single- or double-label immunohistochemistry were employed on paraformaldehyde-fixed cryostat sections of the pigeon eye and surrounding orbital tissue to localize 1) VIP+ neurons and fibers; 2) choline acetyltransferase (CHAT)-containing cholinergic neurons and fibers; 3) axons containing the 3A10 neurofilament-associated antigen; and 4) neuronal NO synthase (nNOS)-containing neurons and fibers. NOS+ neurons and fibers were also identified by NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry in sections and whole- mount specimens. The pterygopalatine ganglion was found to consist of an interconnected series of three to four main microganglia of about 50-200 neurons each and numerous lesser microganglia. The major microganglia of the pterygopalatine network in pigeon lie along the superior aspect of the Harderian gland, with many additional fibers and microganglia of the network encircling the gland. Neurons of all microganglia were extremely rich in VIP, nNOS, and NADPH-diaphorase and moderate in CHAT. The majority of the pterygopalatine ganglion neurons were observed to co-contain VIP and nNOS. Axons labeled for VIP, nNOS, NADPH-diaphorase, or the 3A10 antigen could be traced from the pterygopalatine ganglion network to perivascular fiber plexi on orbital blood vessels. These orbital vessels, many of which enter the choroid posteriorly and nasally, appear to be a conduit by which pterygopalatine postganglionic fibers reach the choroid. The pterygopalatine postganglionic fibers were also seen to innervate the Harderian gland and contribute branches to the nearby ophthalmic nerve. Within the choroid, VIP+ fibers were widely scattered and sparse but were most abundant in nasal choroid. A few VIP+ and NADPH- diaphorase+ neurons were also observed in the choroid. These results suggest that pterygopalatine ganglion neurons of birds use VIP and NO to exert vasodilatory control over blood flow to and within the avian choroid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-442
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume386
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 29 1997

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Parasympathetic Ganglia
Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
Columbidae
Blood Vessels
Choroid
Neurons
NADPH Dehydrogenase
Harderian Gland
Nitric Oxide Synthase
Choline O-Acetyltransferase
Axons
Ophthalmic Nerve
Nitric Oxide
Cholinergic Fibers
Antigens
Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I
Cholinergic Neurons
Intermediate Filaments
Nose
Birds

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Innervation of orbital and choroidal blood vessels by the pterygopalatine ganglion in pigeons. / Cuthbertson, S.; Jackson, B.; Toledo, C.; Fitzgerald, M. E.C.; Shih, Y. F.; Zagvazdin, Y.; Reiner, Anton.

In: Journal of Comparative Neurology, Vol. 386, No. 3, 29.09.1997, p. 422-442.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cuthbertson, S. ; Jackson, B. ; Toledo, C. ; Fitzgerald, M. E.C. ; Shih, Y. F. ; Zagvazdin, Y. ; Reiner, Anton. / Innervation of orbital and choroidal blood vessels by the pterygopalatine ganglion in pigeons. In: Journal of Comparative Neurology. 1997 ; Vol. 386, No. 3. pp. 422-442.
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