CSF contacting axons and synapses in the lumen of the pineal organ

I. Vigh-Teichmann, B. Vigh, B. Aros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


Free-running, naked axons (diameter 2000 to 7000 Å) can be found in the lumen of the pineal organ. Their axoplasm contains microtubules, mitochondria as well as synaptic (diameter 350 to 450 Å) and granulated vesicles (diameter 500 to 1500 Å). In Pleurodeles waltlii, the axons in the pineal lumen form synapses on the free, apical surface of the pineal ependyma which is supplied with microvilli. In addition to usual cytoplasmic elements the innervated ependymal cells contain myeloid bodies and accumulations of glycogen granules. Without forming synapses these axons pass by and occasionally contact the inner and/or outer segments of the pinealocytes. The synapses found on the pineal ependymal cells furnish evidence of a neuronal control of these glial elements. The nerve fibers of the pineal lumen are being compared with known CSF contacting axons; they resemble one another in their ultrastructure and synaptic connections. Therefore and since in amphibians the pineal lumen communicates with the 3rd ventricle, the axons of the pineal lumen are considered to represent CSF contacting axons and to belong to the so-called CSF contacting axon system of the brain. In addition, the pineal CSF contacting axons are being compared with the following nerve fibers and terminals found in the pineal tissue: 1) axons containing large, granulated vesicles (diameter 1300 to 1500 Å) and terminating on the dendrites of nerve cells situated among the basal processes of the pinealocytes; 2) the synaptic ribbons-containing pinealocyte processes forming likewise synapses on the nerve cells; 3) the neurohormonal, synaptic semidesmosomes of pinealocytic processes on the lamina basalis separating the connective tissue spaces of the pia mater from the proper nervous tissue of the pineal organ; 4) the perivasal, autonomic nerve fibers of the pial septa. Though granulated vesicles of various diameters are present in all these terminals the greatest morphological similarity is found between the pineal CSF contacting axons and those nerve fibers containing large, granulated vesicles and forming axo-dendritic synapses on the pineal nerve cells. A similar nature and origin of both axons are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
Number of pages14
JournalZeitschrift für Zellforschung und mikroskopische Anatomie
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 1973


  • CSF contacting axons
  • Ependymal synapses
  • Pineal organ
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'CSF contacting axons and synapses in the lumen of the pineal organ'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this