Development of AChE-positive, NA-containing and VIP- and NPY-immunoreactive nerves in the major cerebral arteries of the rat
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The development of cerebrovascular nerves containing noradrenalin (NA), acetylcholinesterase (AChE), neuropeptide Y (NPY), and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) was studied in rats from before birth to adulthood. All these nerves entered the cranial cavity along the cerebral carotid, internal ethmoidal, and vertebral arteries during the early stages of development, but the subsequent growth and distribution of NA-containing and NPY-immunoreactive (IR) nerves differed greatly from that of AChE-positive and VIP-IR nerves. NA-containing and NPY-IR nerves extended rapidly from the cerebral carotid artery and spread over all the major arteries of the internal carotid system by postnatal day 3, as well as descending the posterior ramus of the cerebral carotid to mingle with nerves from the vertebral artery around the mid-basilar artery by day 5. AChE-positive and VIP-IR nerves from the internal ethomoidal artery covered the whole internal carotid system during the first postnatal week, and projected to the upper basilar artery after the second week, while those from the cerebral carotid artery remained limited to the middle cerebral artery throughout development. By day 21, all major arteries of the internal carotid system had dense plexuses of the four nerve types that were similar to those observed in adult rats. The vertebrobasilar system also had a well-organized network of NA-containing and NPY-IR nerves, but only a poor supply of AChE-positive and VIP-IR nerves. Even on day 30, the latter two nerve types were sometimes absent from the middle to caudal basilar artery, owing to a lack of interdigitation by nerves from the internal ethomoidal and vertebral arteries.
Key wordsOntogeny Cerebrovascular innervation Rat
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