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Development of nNOS-positive preganglionic sympathetic neurons in the rat thoracic spinal cord

Moiseev, Konstantin Y., Romanova, Irina V., Masliukov, Andrey P., Masliukov, Petr M.
Cell and tissue research 2019 v.375 no.2 pp. 345-357
Western blotting, calbindin, choline acetyltransferase, cocaine, females, neonates, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, neurons, neuroplasticity, ontogeny, rats, spinal cord
To gain a better understanding of the neuroplasticity of sympathetic neurons during postnatal ontogenesis, the distribution of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) immunoreactivity was studied in sympathetic preganglionic neurons (SPN) in the spinal cord (Th2 segment) of female Wistar rats at different ages (newborn, 10-, 20-, 30-day-old; 2-, 6-month-old; 3-year-old). In all age groups, the majority of nNOS-immunoreactive (IR) neurons was observed in the nucleus intermediolateralis thoracolumbalis pars principalis. In the first month, the proportion of nNOS-IR neurons decreased significantly from 92 ± 3.4% in newborn to 55 ± 4.6% in 1-month-old, while the number of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-IR neurons increased from 74 ± 4.2% to 99 ± 0.3% respectively. Decreasing nNOS expression in the first 10 days of life was also confirmed by western blot analysis. Some nNOS-IR SPN also colocalized calbindin (CB) and cocaine and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART). The percentage of NOS(+)/CB(−) SPN increased from 23 ± 3.6% in 10-day-old to 36 ± 4.2% in 2-month-old rats. Meanwhile, the proportion of NOS(+)/CART(−) neurons decreased from 82 ± 4.7% in newborn to 53 ± 6.1% in 1-month-old rats. The information provided here will also serve as a basis for future studies investigating the mechanisms of autonomic neuron development.