Purpose: After recently demonstrating an NADPH-diaphorase-, nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-positive ganglion cell plexus in the human choroid that was absent in rabbit and rat eyes, the authors extended their comparative studies to nonhuman primates and to subprimate mammals.
Methods: The authors investigated the choroids of diurnal cynomolgus monkeys with well-developed fovea centralis and accommodative systems; diurnal tree shrews without a fovea centralis or accommodative capacity; nocturnal owl monkeys with substantial accommodative capacity but without a fovea centralis; cats with an area centralis but no fovea centralis; and pigs without an area centralis or a fovea centralis. The latter two species have moderately developed ciliary muscles. Wholemounts of the choroid of eight cynomolgus monkey, two owl monkey, four tree shrew, four cat, and four pig eyes were stained for NADPH-diaphorase. In addition, frozen sections through the cynomolgus monkey choroid were stained for NOS and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP).
Results: In all species, the choroidal vessels were surrounded by NADPH-diaphorase-positive nerve fibers. A ganglion cell plexus, however, was seen only in cynomolgus monkey eyes. The ganglion cells stained for NOS and VIP.
Conclusions: The presence of intrachoroidal nitrergic nerve cells restricted to species with a fully developed fovea centralis may indicate a functional correlation of these structures.