VIP like immunoreactive nerves in human respiratory tract. Light and electron microscopic study

Histochemistry. 1985;82(4):313-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00494059.


The present study provides light and electron microscopical evidence of Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide - (VIP) like immunoreactive nerves in human lower respiratory tract. Peroxidase antiperoxidase (PAP) technique was used to localize VIP-like immunoreactivity light microscopically and ultrastructurally. Under light microscopy, VIP-like immunoreactive nerves were observed in the smooth muscle layer of secondary bronchi to small bronchioli, and in bronchial glands. In addition, positive immunoreactive nervous network to VIP was found around nerve cell bodies in small microganglia. The bronchial epithelium of airway tract did not receive any VIP positive nerve fibers. Ultrastructurally VIP-like positive immunoreaction was localized in large granular vesicles ranging from 90 to 210 nm. Usually VIP-like positive immunoreactive nerve profiles contained several immunoreactive large vesicles (100-210). However, nerve profiles containing only a few positive large vesicles (80-150) were also observed. Under electron microscopy VIP-positive nerve profiles corresponded ultrastructurally to nerve profiles containing large granular vesicles observed in conventional electronmicroscopy. The present study provides new information about the innervation of human lower airway tract and widens the concept of their functional regulation on the anatomical basis reported here.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchi / analysis
  • Bronchi / innervation*
  • Bronchi / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Muscle, Smooth / analysis
  • Muscle, Smooth / innervation
  • Muscle, Smooth / ultrastructure
  • Nerve Fibers / analysis*
  • Nerve Fibers / ultrastructure
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / analysis*


  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide