Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The innervation of the myometrium of the cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis)

A quantitative electron-microscopic study

  • 18 Accesses

  • 2 Citations


The autonomic innervation of the myometrium of Macaca fascicularis consists of bundles of unmyelinated nerve fibres running between the smooth muscle cells, and is therefore considered to be of the “fascicular (= unitary) type”. Close contacts between nerve fibres and smooth muscle fibres were not found. Modification of the chromaffin method according to Tranzer and Richards made it possible to visualize the heterogeneity of the nerve fibres in a single bundle. The following fibre types were found to coexist: (1) noradrenergic fibres containing “synaptic” vesicles with a dense granule, (2) cholinergic fibres containing empty “synaptic vesicles”, and (3) non-adrenergic noncholinergic (NANC) fibres containing only or predominantly large dense-cored vesicles, which do not react with this method. Noradrenergic fibres are the most numerous (around 60%), followed by NANC fibres (30%) and cholinergic elements (around 10%). The distribution of these three types is similar in the cervix, the isthmus and the body of the uterus in pregnant and non-pregnant females.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Alm P, Alumets J, Håkanson R, Sundler F (1977) Peptidergic (vasoactive intestinal peptide) nerves in the genito-urinary tract. Neuroscience 2:751–754

  2. Alm P, Alumets J, Håkanson R, Helm G, Owman Ch, Sjöberg NO, Sundler F (1980) Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide nerves in the human female genital tract. Am J Obstet Gynecol 136:349–351

  3. Burnstock G, Iwayama T (1971) Fine structural identification of autonomic nerves and their relation to smooth muscle. Prog Brain Res 34:389–404

  4. Burnstock G (1972) Purinergic nerves. Pharmacol Rev 24:509–581

  5. Cook RD, Burnstock G (1976) The ultrastructure of Auerbach's plexus in the guinea-pig. I: Neuronal elements. J Neurocytol 5:171–194

  6. Gibbins IL, Haller CJ (1979) Ultrastructural identification of nonadrenergic, non cholinergic nerves in the rat anococcygeus muscle. Cell Tissue Res 200:257–271

  7. Grillo MA (1970) Extracellular synaptic vesicles in the mouse heart. J Cell Biol 47:547–553

  8. Helm G, Ottesen B, Fahrenkrug J, Larsen JJ, Owman Ch, Sjöberg NO, Stolberg B, Sundler F, Walles B (1981) Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) in the human female reproductive tract: distribution and motor effects. Biol Reprod 25:227–234

  9. Hervonen A, Kanerva L, Rechardt L (1972) Localization of catecholamines and acetylcholinesterase in the terminal nerve fibres of the rabbit myometrium. Histochemistry 32:89–93

  10. Hökfelt T (1966) Electron microscopic observations on nerve terminals in the intrinsic muscles of the albino rat iris. Acta Physiol Scand 67:255–256

  11. Naef W, Munzk K, Waser PG (1978) Morphometric analyses of the electric organ of Torpedo: the influence of different fixative modes on the vesicles diameter. Histochemistry 58:193–201

  12. Owman Ch (1981) Pregnancy induces degenerative and regenerative changes in the autonomic innervation of the female reproductive tract. Development of the nervous system. Ciba Foundation Symposium 83:252–279

  13. Owman Ch, Rosengren E, Sjöberg NO (1966) Origin of the adrenergic innervation of the female genital tract of the rabbit. Life Sci 5:1389–1396

  14. Richardson KG (1964) The fine structure of the albino rabbit iris, with special reference to the identification of adrenergic and cholinergic nerves and nerve endings in its intrinsic muscles. Am J Anat 114:173–205

  15. Robinson PM, McLean JR, Burnstock G (1971) Ultrastructural identification of non adrenergic inhibitory nerve fibres. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 179:149–160

  16. Silva DS (1967) The ultrastructure of the myometrium of the rat with special reference to the innervation. Anat Rec 158:21–34

  17. Sorger T, Pittman R, Soderwall AL (1983) Principal features of the nerve supply of the ovary, oviduct and tubal third of the uterus in the golden hamster. Biol Reprod 28:461–482

  18. Sporrong B, Clase L, Owman Ch, Sjöberg NO (1977) Electron microscopy of adrenergic, cholinergic and “p-type” nerves in the myometrium and a special kind of synaptic contacts with the smooth muscle cells. Am J Obstet Gynecol 127:811–817

  19. Taxi J (1965) Contribution à l'étude des connexions des neurones moteurs du système nerveux autonome. Ann Sc Nat Zool 12e ser., 7:413–674

  20. Taxi J, Droz B (1966) Etude de l'incorporation de noradrénaline 3H(Na-3H) et de 5 hydroxytryptophane H(5HTP-3H) dans les fibres nerveuses du canal déférent et de l'intestin. CR Acad Sci (Paris) 263:1237–1240

  21. Thorbert G, Alm P, Owman Ch, Sjöberg NO (1977) Regional distribution of autonomic nerves in guinea pig uterus. Am J Physiol 233(1):C25-C34

  22. Thorbert G (1979) Regional changes in structure and function of adrenergic nerves in guinea-pig uterus during pregnancy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand suppl 79

  23. Thureson-Klein A (1983) Exocytosis from large and small dense cored vesicles in noradrenergic nerve terminals. Neuroscience 102:245–252

  24. Tranzer JP, Richards JG (1976) Ultrastructural cytochemistry of biogenic amines in nervous tissue: methodologic improvements. J Histochem Cytochem 24:1178–1193

  25. Tranzer JP, Snipes RL (1968) Fine structural localization of noradrenaline in sympathetic nerve terminals: a critical study on the influence of fixation. IVth Eur Reg Conf on Electr Microsc Rome: 519–520

  26. Tranzer JP, Thoenen H, Snipes RL, Richards JG (1969) Recent developments on the ultrastructural aspect of adrenergic nerve endings in various experimental conditions. Prog Brain Res 31:33–46

  27. Van Driel C, Houthoff HJ, Baijet B (1973) The innervation of the myometrium. Some histochemical observations in man and rat. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 3:11–17

  28. Wendell-Smith CP (1970) Pelvic visceral innervation. In: Phillip EE, Barnes J, Newton M, Neinemann W (eds) Scientific Foundations of Obstetrics and Gynecology, W. Heinemann, London, pp 88–92

  29. Wolfe DE, Potter LT, Richardson KC, Axelrod J (1962) Localizing tritiated norepinephrine in sympathetic axons by electron microscopy autoradiography. Science 138:440–442

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Professeur Jacques Taxi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Barbe, M., Taxi, J. The innervation of the myometrium of the cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis). Cell Tissue Res. 246, 575–581 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00215199

Download citation

Key words

  • Myometrium
  • Noradrenergic innervation
  • Cholinergic innervation
  • Non-adrenergic non-cholinergic nerves
  • Autonomic innervation
  • Macaca fascicularis