Indexed on: 01 Feb '94Published on: 01 Feb '94Published in: Cell and Tissue Research
Immunohistochemistry has been used to demonstrate tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), dopamine-β-hydroxylase (DBH), phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT), neuropeptide Y (NPY) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) immunoreactivities, and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity was demonstrated in rat adrenal glands. The TH, DBH, NPY and VIP immunoreactivities and AChE activity were observed in both the large ganglion cells and the small chromaffin cells whereas PNMT immunoreactivity was found only in chromaffin cells, and not in ganglion cells. Most intraadrenal ganglion cells showed NPY immunoreactivity and a few were VIP immunoreactive. Numerous NPY-immunoreactive ganglion cells were also immunoreactive for TH and DBH; these cells were localized as single cells or groups of several cells in the adrenal cortex and medulla. Use of serial sections, or double and triple staining techniques, showed that all TH- and DBH-immunoreactive ganglion cells also showed NPY immunoreactivity, whereas some NPY-immunoreactive ganglion cells were TH and DBH immunonegative. NPY-immunoreactive ganglion cells showed no VIP immunoreactivity. AChE activity was seen in VIP-immunopositive and VIP-immunonegative ganglion cells. These results suggest that ganglion cells containing noradrenaline and NPY, or NPY only, or VIP and acetylcholine occur in the rat adrenal gland; they may project within the adrenal gland or to other target organs. TH, DBH, NPY, and VIP were colocalized in numerous immunoreactive nerve fibres, which were distributed in the superficial adrenal cortex, while TH-, DBH- and NPY-immunoreactive ganglion cells and nerve fibres were different from VIP-immunoreactive ganglion cells and nerve fibres in the medulla. This suggests that the immunoreactive nerve fibres in the superficial cortex may be mainly extrinsic in origin and may be different from those in the medulla.