Neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive intracardiac neurones, granule-containing cells and nerves associated with ganglia and blood vessels in rat and guinea-pig heart

A. A. Sosunov, C. J.S. Hassall, A. Loesch, M. Turmaine, E. Fehér, G. Burnstock

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Intrinsic neuropeptide Y-containing neurones in rat and guinea-pig hearts were studied at the ultrastructural level by the pre-embedding peroxidase-antiperoxidase immunocytochemical technique. Intracardiac neuronal cell bodies were often weakly or moderately immunostained, and the labelling was usually pronounced in the Golgi complex, multivesicular bodies, some cisterns of granular endoplasmic reticulum and large granular vesicles. Neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive nerve fibres were also observed in association with intracardiac neurones. A subpopulation of neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive granule-containing cells in the rat heart are described for the first time and were very heavily labelled; other granule-containing cells were non-immu noreactive, but were contacted by neuropeptide Y-containing nerves. Preterminal regions of nerve fibres that were located in nerve bundles were only weakly neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive, in contrast to the heavy labelling observed in varicosities that contained many synaptic vesicles. Many neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive nerve fibres were associated with the coronary vasculature and were particularly prominent in the walls of small arteries and arterioles where labelled nerve varicosities were present close to the smooth muscle cells. Immunoreactive nerves were also seen in the myocardium, usually near to capillaries. In axonal varicosities, the central core of large granular vesicles was immunolabelled, and electron-dense immunoreactive material outlined the membranes of small and large clear vesicles. The significance of neuropeptide Y-immunoreactive intracardiac neurones and granule-containing cells and the origin of associated labelled nerve fibres in the heart are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-454
Number of pages10
JournalCell And Tissue Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 12 1997



  • Electron microscopy
  • Guinea-pig (Dunkin Hartley)
  • Heart
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Innervation
  • Intracardiac neurones
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Rat (Sprague Dawley)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology

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