Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide and nitric oxide synthase are expressed in the rat ciliary ganglion

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AimsTo study the distribution in the rat ciliary ganglion of neurons synthesising and storing the recently discovered neuropeptide pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide(PACAP) and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS), the neuronal marker of the novel gaseous transmitter nitric oxide.MethodsNeurons expressing PACAP and neuronal NOS mRNA were identified in the rat ciliary ganglion by in situ hybridisation with radiolabelled oligonucleotide probes. Immunocytochemistry was used to demonstrate immunoreactive neuropeptides and NOS.ResultsImmunocytochemistry demonstrated immunoreactivity for PACAP and NOS in a small number of neuronal cell bodies. In situ hybridisation revealed that NOS and PACAP were expressed in numerous ganglion cell somata. The well established ciliary messengers vasoactive intestinal peptide and neuropeptide Y were found in a large number of neuronal cell bodies.ConclusionThese results demonstrate that PACAP and NOS are synthesised and stored in the ciliary ganglion. These findings further illustrate the mixed nature of the ciliary ganglion and may provide a basis for the understanding of the diverse physiological functions of this ganglion.

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