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Immunohistochemical Localization Of Choline Acetyltransferase Of A Peripheral Type In The Rat Larynx

Y. Nakanishi, I. Tooyama, O. Yasuhara, Y. Aimi, H. Kimura
Published 1999 · Medicine, Biology

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As shown in the accompanying paper, choline acetyltransferase, so far the best histochemical marker for identifying cholinergic structures, has at least one alternative splice variant. The variant, termed pChAT because of its preferential expression in peripheral organs, encouraged us to study peripheral, probably cholinergic, cells and fibers by immunohistochemistry using an antiserum against a peptide specific for pChAT. We chose the larynx of the rat, since cholinergic innervation in this organ has been well established by physiological studies, but not sufficiently by chemical neuroanatomy. Neuronal somata positive for pChAT were found in the intralaryngeal ganglia. Our double staining study indicated that these somata always possessed acetylcholinesterase activity, while the reverse did not hold true. Nerve fibers positive for pChAT were distributed widely in the intrinsic laryngeal muscles, laryngeal glands, blood vessels and laryngeal mucosa. In the intrinsic laryngeal muscles, pChAT-positive terminals were apposed closely to motor end-plates which were stained positively for acetylcholinesterase activity. Denervation experiments revealed that there were three types of pChAT-positive fibers in the larynx: (1) special visceral efferent fibers to the intrinsic laryngeal muscles, which decreased dramatically in number after vagotomy; (2) parasympathetic postganglionic fibers near the laryngeal glands and blood vessels, which appeared unaffected after vagotomy or cervical sympathectomy: and (3) afferent fibers innervating the laryngeal mucosa, which reduced markedly in number after vagotomy performed distal, but not proximal, to the nodose ganglion. Such afferent fibers remained unchanged following the neonatal capsaicin treatment, suggesting their independence from those containing substance P.
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