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Effect of superior cervical ganglionectomy on monoamine content in the epithalamic area of the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus): A fluorescence histochemical study

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Extirpation of the superior cervical ganglion was performed in a series of Mongolian gerbils. One or two weeks after the ganglionectomy the animals were injected with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Subsequently perfusion fixation was performed using the glyoxylic acid-paraformal-dehydemagnesium method (Lorén et al., 1976) for fluorescence histochemical investigation of the monoamines of the pineal complex. In the ganglionectomized animals all of the blue-fluorescent sympathetic fibers in the pineal complex (superficial pineal gland, deep pineal gland and the pineal stalk) completely disappeared. The yellow indolamine fluorescence of the cells in the superficial pineal and the deep pineal, as well as in the pineal stalk, was markedly reduced after ganglionectomy. No change in the morphology or number of sympathetic fibers in the medial habenular nucleus was observed. These results indicate that the presence of sympathetic nerve fibers with perikarya in the superior cervical ganglion is necessary for maintaining a high indolamine content in all three parts of the pineal complex. In addition, the results also indicate that the deep pineal gland is a functional part of the pineal complex. The presence of a functionally active deep pineal, bordering the pineal recess, suggests that part of the pineal hormones might be secreted into the cerebrospinal fluid.

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Correspondence to M. Møller M.D..

Additional information

This work was supported by the Carlsberg Foundation, the Swedish Natural Science Research Council, grant no. 2126-100, and the Danish Medical Research Council, grant no. 512-7134

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Møller, M., Nielsen, J.T. & van Veen, T. Effect of superior cervical ganglionectomy on monoamine content in the epithalamic area of the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus): A fluorescence histochemical study. Cell Tissue Res. 201, 1–9 (1979).

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Key words

  • Epithalamus
  • Smpathectomy
  • Monoamines
  • Fluorescence histochemistry
  • Mongolian gerbil