Intrinsic choroidal neurons (ICN) in the duck eye form an intramural ganglionic plexus that may subserve complex integrative functions. A key feature of such ganglia is an innervation by sympathetic postganglionic neurons. The present study was thus aimed at determining the sympathetic postganglionic innervation of ICN. Choroids were processed for double immunofluorescence labelling with the following markers: tyrosine-hydroxylase (TH)/nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), TH/galanin (GAL), dopamine-β-hydroxylase (DBH)/vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), TH/DBH and DBH/α-smooth-muscle actin (αSMA), and for triple immunofluorescence labelling with VIP/DBH/TH. Epifluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy were used for evaluation. Immunoperoxidase staining for TH or DBH in combination with NADPH-diaphorase histochemistry was applied for electron microscopy. ICN spread over the entire choroid but were concentrated in an equatorial zone passing obliquely from naso-cranial to temporo-caudal. More than 80% of nNOS-positive ICN showed close appositions of TH/DBH-immunoreactive varicose nerve fibres at the light-microscopic level, as could be confirmed by confocal laser scanning microscopy. Ultrastructurally, these appositions could be defined as both synapses or close contacts without synaptic specialisation. Vascular and non-vascular smooth muscle fibres also received TH/DBH-immunopositive innervation. Our findings suggest that most ICN receive a sympathetic input that might modulate their nitrergic effects upon vascular and non-vascular smooth muscle fibres in the choroid and that they may have more complex functions than merely being a simple parasympathetic relay.
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Schrödl, F., Tines, R., Brehmer, A. et al. Intrinsic choroidal neurons in the duck eye receive sympathetic input: anatomical evidence for adrenergic modulation of nitrergic functions in the choroid. Cell Tissue Res 304, 175–184 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004410100362
- Confocal microscopy Electron microscopy Nitric oxide Parasympathetic nerve Sympathetic nerve Duck Cairina moschata (Aves)