The cholinergic innervation of the adrenal gland and its relation to enkephalin and nitric oxide synthase

Neuroreport. 1995 Dec 15;6(18):2576-80. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199512150-00030.


Using a monoclonal antibody against rat brain choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) the cholinergic innervation of the adult rat adrenal gland was visualized. Almost all ChAT-positive fibres contained nitric oxide synthase (NOS), whereas enkephalin (ENK) was exclusively found in ChAT fibres among adrenaline chromaffin cells. The ChAT/NOS/ENK fibres disappeared after immunological sympathectomy, indicating a preganglionic origin. ChAT was not found in the superficial peptide- and NOS containing fibre plexus in the adrenal cortex or in small or large intra-adrenal ganglion neurones under control conditions. Even after colchicine treatment only one single ChAT-positive small ganglion neurone was found. It is possible, therefore that some small intra-adrenal ganglion neurones, which express NOS- and VIP-like immunoreactivities, are noncholinergic, nonadrenergic neurones.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cholinergic Fibers / metabolism*
  • Enkephalins / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Enkephalins
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase