Preganglionic fibers in the rat hypogastric nerve project bilaterally to pelvic ganglia

Farzana Harji, Jason Gonzales, Rafael Galindo, William G. Dail

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13 Scopus citations


Stimulation of the hypogastric nerve (HGN) often evokes bilateral responses in some pelvic organs. Retrograde labeling studies indicate that axons of postganglionic neurons often cross to the opposite side. However, there is little information available as to whether preganglionic fibers in the HGN have a contralateral projection to pelvic ganglia. A retrograde tracer was injected into the left major pelvic ganglion (MPG) in rats receiving various lesions of preganglionic nerves (HGN and pelvic nerve, PN). The lumbar spinal cord was then examined for location and number of dye- filled neurons. In a second approach, the incidence of synaptophysin immunoreactivity (SN-IR) perineuronal profiles (baskets) was examined in the MPG and in the accessory pelvic ganglia (APG) after nerve lesions. Labeled neuronal profiles were found in spinal cord nuclei (Lumbar1-2) after dye injection of the MPG in animals with an intact contralateral HGN. Cutting both HGNs virtually eliminated dye labeling in the lumbar cord, as did severing commissural branches (CB) between pelvic ganglia (leaving the contralateral HGN intact). Some SN-IR baskets were found in the left APG when only the contralateral HGN was intact, but baskets were rare when all four preganglionic nerves were cut. It could not be determined whether the HGN projects to the contralateral MPG, since SN-IR baskets were numerous in the MPG even when all four nerves were cut. This study has shown that some preganglionic fibers in the HGN synapse on neurons in contralateral pelvic ganglia. Both the APG and MPG receive contralateral innervation, but it is likely that neurons in the APG are the primary target of this input. Thus, in addition to crossing postganglionic fibers, a portion of the bilateral control of pelvic tissues is accomplished by preganglionic fibers which target autonomic neurons in contralateral ganglia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1998


  • Cross- innervation
  • Pelvic plexus
  • Rat
  • Retrograde tracer
  • Sympathetic
  • Synaptophysin


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