Parasympathetic, sympathetic, and sensory interactions in the iris: Nerve growth factor regulates cholinergic ciliary ganglion innervation in vivo

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Abstract

Interactions between peptidergic sensory nerves, noradrenergic sympathetic nerves, and cholinergic parasympathetic fibers were examined in the rat iris. The putative peptide neurotransmitter, substance P (SP), was used as an index of the trigeminal sensory innervation, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) activity served to monitor the sympathetic fibers, and choline acetyltransferase (CAT) activity was used as an index of the parasympathetic innervation. Destruction of the sympathetic innervation by neonatal administration of 6-hydroxydopamine resulted in increased SP development and a smaller increase in CAT activity in the iris. Moreover, trigeminal ablation resulted in an increase in both TH and CAT activities. Finally, ciliary ganglionectomy resulted in increased SP and a smaller increase in TH activity in the iris. Administration of nerve growth factor (NGF) into the anterior chamber substantially increased both SP and TH activity in the iris and also increased CAT activity to a lesser extent. Moreover, administration of anti-NGF into the anterior chamber prevented both the sympathectomy-induced increases in SP and CAT, and the increases in TH and CAT activities after trigeminal ablation, suggesting that NGF mediated these increases. These obervations suggest that the sympathetic, sensory, and parasympathetic innervations of the iris interact by altering availability of NGF elaborated by the iris. Regulation of iris CAT activity was examined in greater detail. Injection of the cholinergic toxin, AF64A, into the anterior chamber concurrently with ablation of the sympathetic and sensory innervations paradoxically increased CAT activity, whereas AF64A alone decreased CAT activity. Moreover, injection of the anterior chamber with NGF after AF64A administration also increased CAT activity more than NGF treatment alone, suggesting that damaged or regenerating ciliary fibers are more responsive to NGF than the intact innervation. These obervations suggest that the balance between the sympathetic, sensory, and parasympathetic innervations of that iris may be regulated by availaiblity of NGF elaborated by the iris.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2719-2725
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume5
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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