Smooth Muscle pp 457-468 | Cite as

Nerve—Muscle Preparations of the Nictitating Membrane

  • U. Trendelenburg
  • G. Haeusler


The nictitating membrane of the cat has been used extensively in pharmacological studies because of the ease with which its movements can be recorded, because of the simplicity of its innervation (the purely adrenergic fibers have their cell bodies in the easily accessible superior cervical ganglion of the same side), because its blood supply (via the external carotid artery) is accessible for intraarterial injections, and because it is a paired organ. In in vivostudies, it has been used as an indicator for the activity of the superior cervical ganglion and/or the adrenal medulla as well as a very useful smooth muscle preparation. For some types of study it is an advantage that the sensitivity of the smooth muscle is rather selective: it is high for sympathomimetic amines and acetylcholine, but low for histamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, bradykinin, and angiotensin. More recently, the isolated preparation has been developed, the dissection of which requires considerable skill.


Superior Cervical Ganglion Nictitate Membrane Lingual Artery Adrenergic Innervation Sympathomimetic Amine 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acheson, G. H. 1938. The topographical anatomy of the smooth muscle of the cat’s nictitating membrane. Anat. Rec., 71:297–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Gertner, S. B. 1956. Pharmacological studies on the inferior eye lid of the anaesthetized rat. Br. J. Pharmacol., 11:147–150.Google Scholar
  3. Giarman, N. J. and Reit, E. 1967. An effect of histamine on the nictitating membrane of the cat: potentiation of the actions of adrenaline, noradrenaline and acetylcholine. Br. J. Pharmacol., 29:168–180.Google Scholar
  4. Graefe, K. H. and Trendelenburg, U. 1970. The effect of cocaine on uptake of and sensitivity to noradrenaline in isolated nictitating membranes before and after storage in the cold. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch. Pharmakol, 267:383–398.Google Scholar
  5. Green, A. F. and Boura, A. L. A. 1964. Depressants of peripheral sympathetic nerve function. In: Evaluation of Drug Activities: Pharmacometrics, Vol. 1, pp. 369–456. Ed. by Laurence, D. R. and Bacharach, A. L. Academic Press, London, New York.Google Scholar
  6. Haefely, W. and Tschirky, H. 1968. Eine einfache, resch adaptierbare Vorrichtung zur Registrierung iso- und auxotonischer Längenänderungen und ein Bausatz von Bädern für verschiedene isolierte Organe. Helv. Acta Physiol., 26:CR335-CR337.Google Scholar
  7. Haefely, W., Hürlimann, A., and Thoenen, H. 1964. Interferenz von Gefässeffekten eines Pharmakons mit Scinen anderen nichtvasculären pharmakologischen Wirkungen. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch. Exp. Path. Pharmak., 249:267–278.Google Scholar
  8. Haeusler, G. 1971. Early pre- and postjunctional effects of 6-hydroxydopamine. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 178:49–62.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Haeusler, G. and Haefely, W. 1968. Der isolierte glatte Muskel der Katzennickhaut mit intakter sympathischer Nervenversorgung. Helv. Physiol. Acta, 26:CR337-CR339.Google Scholar
  10. Haeusler, G. and Haefely, W. 1971. Decentralization supersensitivity of the cat nictitating membrane in vitro. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch. Pharmakol., 270: R55.Google Scholar
  11. Haeusler, G., Haefely, W., and Thoenen, H. 1969. Chemical sympathectomy of the cat with 6-hydroxydopamine. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 170:50–61.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Kaller, H. 1955. Der Musculus orbitalis und das obere Halsganglion der Ratte als pharmakologische Testobjekte. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch. Exp. Path. Pharmak., 225:474–478.Google Scholar
  13. Langer, S. Z. 1966a. The degeneration contraction of the nictitating membrane in the unanesthetized cat. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 151:66–72.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Langer, S. Z. 1966b. Presence of tone in the denervated and in the decentralized nictitating membrane of the spinal cat and its influence on determinations of supersensitivity. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 154: 14- 34.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Langer, S. Z. 1970. The metabolism of3H-noradrenaline released by electrical stimulation from the isolated nictitating membrane of the cat and from the vas deferens of the rat. J. Physiol. (Lond.), 208:5415–546.Google Scholar
  16. Langer, S. Z. and Trendelenburg, U. 1966. The onset of denervation supersensitivity. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 151:73–86.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Langer, S. Z., Draskóczy, P. R., and Trendelenburg, U. 1967. Time course of the development of supersensitivity to various amines in the nictitating membrane of the pithed cat after denervation or decentralization. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 157:255–273.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Lundberg, D. 1969. Adrenergic neuron blockers and transmitter release after sympathetic denervation studied in the conscious rat. Acta Physiol. Scand., 75:415–426.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Morison, R. S. and Acheson, G. H. 1938. A quantitative study of the effects of acetylcholine and adrenaline on the nictitating membrane. Am. J. Physiol., 121:149–156.Google Scholar
  20. Paton, W. D. M. 1954. Types of pharmacological action at autonomic ganglia. Arch. Int. Pharmacodyn., 97:267–281.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Reas, H. W. and Tsai, T. H. 1966. The antagonism by atropine of the response of the nictitating membrane to sympathetic nerve stimulation. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 152:186–196.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Smith, C. B. 1963. Relaxation of the nictitating membrane of the spinal cat by sympathomimetic amines. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 142:163–170.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Thompson, J. W. 1958. Studies on the response of the isolated nictitating membrane of the cat. J. Physiol. (Lond.), 141:46–72.Google Scholar
  24. Thompson, J. W. 1961. The nerve supply to the nictitating membrane of the cat. J. Anatomy, 95:371–385.Google Scholar
  25. Trendelenburg, U. 1954. The action of histamine and pilocarpine on the superior cervical ganglion and the adrenal glands of the cat. Br. J. Pharmacol., 9:481–487.Google Scholar
  26. Trendelenburg, U. 1956. The action of 5-hydroxytryptamine on the nictitating membrane and on the superior cervical ganglion of the cat. Br. J. Pharmacol., 11:74–80.Google Scholar
  27. Trendelenburg, U. 1957a. The action of histamine, pilocarpine and 5-HT on transmission through the superior ganglion. J. Physiol. (Lond.), 135:66–72.Google Scholar
  28. Trendelenburg, U. 1967b. Stimulation of sympathetic centres by histamine. Circ. Res., 5:105–110.Google Scholar
  29. Trendelenburg, U. 1959. Non-nicotinic ganglion-stimulating substances. Fed. Proc., 18:1001–1005.Google Scholar
  30. Trendelenburg, U. 1962. The action of acetylcholine on the nictitating membrane of the spinal cat. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 135:39–44.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Trendelenburg, U. 1963. Supersensitivity and subsensitivity to sympathomimetic amines. Pharmacol. Rev., 15:225–276.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Trendelenburg, U. 1971. Supersensitivity of the isolated nictitating membrane of the cat to sympathomimetic amines after impairment of the intraneuronal mechanisms of inactivation. Naunyn-Schmie- debergs Arch. PharmakoL, 271:29–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Trendelenburg, U., Draskóczy, P. R., and Pluchino, S. 1969. The density of adrenergic innervation of the cat’s nictitating membrane as a factor influencing the sensitivity of the isolated preparation to 1- norepinephrine. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 166:14–25.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Tsai, T. H. and Fleming, W. W. 1965. Antagonism of monoamine oxidase inhibitors against norepinephrine, acetylcholine and potassium in the isolated nictitating membrane of the cat. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 148:40–47.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Van Orden, L. S. III, Bensch, K. G., Langer, S. Z., and Trendelenburg, U. 1967. Histochemical and fine structural aspects of the onset of denervation supersensitivity in the nictitating membrane of the spinal cat. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 157:274–283.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Wagner, K. and Trendelenburg, U. 1971. Development of degeneration contraction and supersensitivity in the cat’s nictitating membrane after 6-hydroxydopamine. Naunyn-Schmiedebergs Arch. Pharmak., 270:215–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Westcott, W. C. and Christensen, H. E. 1951. Responses of the isolated nictitating membrane (cat). Am. J. Physiol., 167:836.Google Scholar
  38. Westfall, D. P., Gilbert, P. E., and Fleming, W. W. 1969. Tension-response relationships in the intact nictitating membrane of the pithed cat. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther., 169:196–200.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Trendelenburg
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. Haeusler
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Experimental MedicineF. Hoffmann-La Roche & Co. Ltd.BaselSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations