Cytochrome oxidase staining in the major pelvic ganglion of the male rat

W. G. Dail, R. Galindo, F. Harji, J. Gonzales

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Cytochrome oxidase staining was used as a marker of metabolic activity in neural elements in the rat major pelvic ganglion. Many neurons in the ventral pole of the ganglion have little cytochrome oxidase activity, while neurons in other locations show gradations in staining intensity. Punctate staining around principal neurons may represent preganglionic terminals, since it was greatly reduced after denervation of the ganglion. Image analysis was used to compare neuronal size to staining intensity. There was a negative correlation between cell size and staining intensity; the largest neurons were only lightly stained for cytochrome oxidase, while the medium and the small neurons showed a full range of metabolic activity. To study metabolic activity of an identified neuronal population, the seminal vesicles were injected with a retrograde tracer. The largest seminal vesicles neurons (1500 to 3200 μm2) had low enzyme activity, whereas the majority of neurons to this organ were smaller with gradations in staining. These results are indicative of the metabolic activity of the autonomic innervation to various pelvic tissues. Cytochrome oxidase histochemistry should prove valuable in assessing the demands placed on autonomic ganglia in differing functional and dysfunctional states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Autonomic Nervous System
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 14 1997


  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative metabolism
  • Parasympathetic neuron
  • Pelvic ganglion
  • Sympathetic neuron


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