, Volume 160, Issue 3, pp 239-252

Innervation of the liver in guinea pig and rat

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The adrenergic innervation of rat and guinea pig liver is investigated using the glyoxylic-acid — paraformaldehyde method for fluorescent microscopical demonstration of adrenergic nerves and electron microscopy. The nerve distribution in the parenchyma of both animals is compared. The distribution of the liver nerves as detected with fluorescence microscopy is confirmed electron microscopically. The two species exhibit fundamental differences in their liver innervation:

  1. In the guinea pig, a rich innervation is found in the trias as well as in the parenchyma. Many nerves traverse the entire liver lobules and may end near the central vein. The guinea pig hepatocyte innervation seems to be uniformly adrenergic. Electron microscopy shows that the varicosities of these nerves mostly form close contacts to the hepatocytes but also to other hepatic intralobular cells.

  2. In the rat, the liver nerves are as a rule restricted to the triads, running mainly with smooth muscle containing blood vessels. It rarely happens that nerves penetrate into the lobule and come into contact with the peripherally located hepatocytes.

Supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft