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Chuanqing Ding, Benjamin Walcott, Kent T. Keyser; Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase and the Autonomic Innervation of the Mouse Lacrimal Gland. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2001;42(12):2789-2794.
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purpose. To determine the expression patterns of the vesicular acetylcholine
transporter (VAChT), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and neuronal nitric
oxide synthase (nNOS) in the pterygopalatine ganglion (PPG) and the
exorbital lacrimal gland of normal mice.
methods. Mouse PPG and lacrimal glands were processed for single- and
double-labeled indirect immunofluorescence studies. Slides were
examined with conventional fluorescence microscopy and confocal laser
results. All the somata in the PPG expressed both VAChT and nNOS
immunoreactivity (IR). The postganglionic axons within the ganglion
showed less VAChT-immunoreactive intensity than that seen in the
somata, whereas nNOS IR was almost undetectable. In the lacrimal gland,
nNOS-positive nerve bundles and fibers were observed to be associated
with tear-collecting ducts, blood vessels, and acini. Some
nNOS-positive punctate elements appeared to be distributed among acini.
Many nerve fibers were VAChT immunoreactive and a small number of
fibers were TH immunoreactive in the gland. Most of the VAChT-positive
fibers and some of the TH-positive nerves displayed nNOS IR.
conclusions. The expression of nNOS in cells of the PPG and in lacrimal gland nerves
suggests that NO may play a role in modulating tear production. The
site of action may include the PPG, ducts, blood vessels, acini, nerve
fibers, and myoepithelial cells within the gland. NO may modulate
parasympathetic and/or sympathetic synaptic transmission or by acting
directly on lacrimal gland components. The interaction between NO-ergic
and the conventional autonomic input illustrates the complexity of the
innervation pattern of the mouse lacrimal
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