Vasoactive intestinal peptide- and nitric oxide synthase-containing nerve fibers in the rat ophthalmic artery have different origins

  • Tor Elsås
  • Rolf Uddman
  • Frank Sundler
Laboratory Investigation


⊎ Background: Neuropeptides are important in the regulation of vascular functions. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the distribution of perivascular nerve fibers containing neuropeptides and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in the rat ophthalmic artery. ⊎ Methods: Neuropeptide-and NOS-containing nerve fibers in the rat ophthalmic artery were identified using immunocytochemistry following unilateral parasympathectomy (electrocoagulation of the sphenopalatine ganglion) and sympathectomy (superior cervical ganglionectomy). The contralateral artery was used as control. ⊎ Results: Nerve fibers containing vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), neuropeptide Y (NPY) and NOS were abundant in the wall of the ophthalmic artery. Nerve fibers containing calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P were scarcer. Following destruction of the sphenopalatine ganglion there was no discernible change in the density of VIP- and NPY-immunoreactive fibers, while the majority of the NOS-containing fibers disappeared. Following sympathectomy the NPY-containing nerve fibers were almost completely eliminated, whereas VIP- and NOS-containing fibers were unaffected. ⊎ Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that the sphenopalatine ganglion is the main contributor of NOS-containing nerve fibers to the rat ophthalmic artery. In contrast, this ganglion apparently is of little importance as a source of VIP-immunoreactive nerve fibers to the artery, demonstrating different origins of the majority of the VIP-and NOS-containing fibers to this artery. The NPY-containing nerve fibers in the rat ophthalmic artery emanate mainly from the superior cervical ganglion.


Peptide Nitric Oxide Nerve Fiber Calcitonin Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tor Elsås
    • 1
  • Rolf Uddman
    • 2
  • Frank Sundler
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of OphthalmologyUniversity Hospital of TrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Oto-Rhino-LaryngologyMalmö General HospitalSweden
  3. 3.Department of Medical Cell ResearchUniversity of Hospital of LundSweden

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