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Combined retrograde tracing and double-labelling immunofluorescence were used to investi- gate the distribution and chemical coding of neurons in aorticoerenal (ARG) and testicular (TG) ganglia supplying the urinary bladder apex (UBA) in the juvenile male pig (n=4, 12 kg. body weight). Retrograde fluorescent tracer Fast Blue (FB) was injected into the wall of the bladder apex under pentobarbital anesthesia. After three weeks all the pigs were deeply anesthetized and transcardially perfused with 4% buffered paraformaldehyde. TG and ARG were collected and processed for double-labelling immunofluorescence. The presence of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) or dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH), neuropeptide Y (NPY), somatostatin (SOM), galanin (GAL), nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT) were inves- tigated. The cryostat sections were examined with a Zeiss LSM 710 confocal microscope equipped with adequate filter blocks. The TG and ARG were found to contain many FB-positive neurons projecting to the UBA (UBA-PN). The UBA-PN were distributed in both TG and ARG. The majority were found in the left ganglia, mostly in TG. Immunohistochemistry disclosed that the vast majority of UBA-PN were noradrenergic (TH- and/or DBH-positive). Many noradrenergic neurons also contained immunoreactivity to NPY, SOM or GAL. Most of the UBA-PN were supplied with varicose VAChT-, or NOS- IR (immunoreactive) nerve fibres. This study has revealed a relatively large population of differently coded ARG and TG neu- rons projecting to the porcine urinary bladder. As judged from their neurochemical organization these nerve cells constitute an important element of the complex neuro-endocrine system involved in the regulation of the porcine urogenital organ function.
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