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, 135 (2 Suppl), 755s-765s

Noradrenergic and Peptidergic Innervation of Lymphoid Tissue

  • PMID: 2861231

Noradrenergic and Peptidergic Innervation of Lymphoid Tissue

D L Felten et al. J Immunol.


Sympathetic noradrenergic nerve fibers innervate both the vasculature and parenchymal fields of lymphocytes and associated cells in several lymphoid organs, including the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), and bone marrow, in a variety of mammalian species. This innervation is both regional and specific, and generally is directed into zones of T lymphocytes and plasma cells rather than into nodular regions or B lymphocyte regions. In the thymus, noradrenergic fibers enter with nerve bundles and plexuses around blood vessels, travel into the cortex from subcapsular plexuses and with the vasculature, and branch into the parenchyma of the thymic cortex. The vasculature and parenchymal regions of both the outer and deep cortex are innervated by these fibers. In the spleen, noradrenergic fibers enter with the vasculature, travel along the trabeculae and along the branching vasculature, and are distributed mainly in the white pulp along the central artery and associated periarterial lymphatic sheath. Fibers branch from a dense plexus around the central artery and travel into the parenchyma, where they end among fields of lymphocytes and other cell types. In lymph nodes, noradrenergic fibers enter at the hilus, travel along the vasculature and in a subcapsular plexus, and branch into the parenchyma in paracortical and cortical regions, where they end among lymphocytes. In the GALT, represented in these studies by rabbit appendix, sacculus rotundus, and Peyer's patches, noradrenergic fibers enter at the serosal surface, travel longitudinally with the muscularis interna, turn radially into internodular plexuses, plunge directly through the thymus-dependent zones, and ramify profusely among lymphocytes, enterochromaffin cells, and plasma cells in the interdomal regions. In the bone marrow, noradrenergic fibers enter with blood vessels, distribute deeply into the marrow on those vessels, and branch sparsely into the substance of the marrow. Immunocytochemical observations revealed the presence of neuro-peptide-like immunoreactivity in the thymus and spleen. Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP)-like immunoreactivity is found in varicose profiles in the thymus within the cortex. In the spleen, immunoreactive profiles showing neuropeptide Y-like, Met-enkephalin-like, cholecystokinin-8 (CCK)-like, and neurotensin-like immunoreactivity are present along the central artery of the white pulp and its smaller branches, with only sparse fibers of most of these peptides entering the parenchyma. CCK-like profiles are present in abundance in the white pulp among parenchymal elements.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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