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NADPH-diaphorase reactivity in ciliary ganglion neurons: A comparison of distributions in the pigeon, cat, and monkey

  • Wensi Sun (a1), Jonathan T. Erichsen (a2) and Paul J. May (a1) (a3)


Ciliary ganglia from the pigeon, cat, and monkey were investigated for the presence of NADPH-diaphorase reactivity by use of a standard histochemical method. In the pigeon, where the ganglion is known to control lens and pupil function, and the choroidal vasculature, about one-third of the ganglion cells were densely stained and most other somata were lightly stained. In some cases, preganglionic terminals with a cap-like morphology were also darkly stained. The pattern of NADPH-diaphorase staining in mammals was very different from that seen in pigeons. In both mammalian species, where the ganglion is known to control lens and pupil function, a small number (less than 2%) of the ganglion cells were shown to be densely NADPH-diaphorase positive, revealing their neuronal processes. The presence of NADPH-diaphorase positive cells in pigeon, cat, and monkey ciliary ganglia suggests that nitric oxide may be used for intercellular communication in this ganglion, or in light of the known importance of nitric oxide in vascular control, some of these positive neurons may participate in the control of choroidal vasodilation.



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