Morphology and immunohistochemical characteristics of the pterygopalatine ganglion in the chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger, Molina)

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Histological and histochemical investigations revealed that the pterygopalatine ganglion (PPG) in the chinchilla is a structure closely connected with the maxillary nerve. Macro-morphological observations disclosed two different forms of the ganglion: an elongated stripe representing single agglomeration of nerve cells, and a ganglionated plexus comprising smaller aggregations of neurocytes connected with nerve fibres. Immunohistochemistry revealed that nearly 80% of neuronal cell bodies in PPG stained for acetylcholine transferase (CHAT) but only about 50% contained immunoreactivity to vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VACHT). Many neurons (40%) were vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP)-positive. Double-staining demonstrated that approximately 20% of the VIP-immunoreactive neurons were VACHT-negative. Some neurons (10%) in PPG were simultaneously VACHT/nitric oxide synthase (NOS)- or Met-enkephaline (Met-ENK)/CHAT-positive, respectively. A small number of the perikarya stained for somatostatin (SOM) and solitary nerve cell bodies expressed Leu-ENK- and galanin-immunoreactivity. Interestingly about 5-8% of PPG neurons exhibited immunoreactivity to tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). Intraganglionic nerve fibres containing immunoreactivity to VACHT-, VIP- and Met-ENK- were numerous, those stained for calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP)- and substance P (SP)- were scarce, and single nerve terminals were TH-, GAL-, VIP- and NOS-positive.

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Polish Journal of Veterinary Sciences

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