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  • 1 Department of Human Morphology and Developmental Biology Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2 Department of Human Morphology and Developmental Biology Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  • 3 Department of Human Morphology and Developmental Biology Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  • 4 Department of Human Morphology and Developmental Biology Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
  • 5 Occupational Health Service, Hospital Santo Antonio dos Capuchos Lisbon, Portugal
  • 6 Department of Human Morphology and Developmental Biology Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
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The significance of autonomic nerves reaching the pineal organ was already investigated in connection to the innervation of pinealocytes and mediating light information from the retina for periodic melatonin secretion. In earlier works we found that some autonomic nerve fibers are not secretomotor but terminate on arteriolar smooth muscle cells in the pineal organ of the mink (Mustela vison). Studying in serial sections the pineal organ of the mink and 15 other mammalian species in the present work, we investigated whether similar axons of vasomotor-type are generally present in the wall of pineal vessels, further, whether they reach the organ via the conarian nerves or via periarterial plexuses. In all species investigated, axons of perivasal nerve bundles were found to form terminal enlargements on the smooth muscle layer of pineal arterioles. The neuromuscular endings contain several synaptic and some granular vesicles. Axon terminals are also present around pineal veins. In serial sections, we found that the so-called conarian autonomic nerves reach the pineal organ alongside pineal veins draining into the great internal cerebral vein. Similar nerves present near arteries of the arachnoid enter the pineal meningeal capsule and septa by arterioles, both perivenous and periarterial nerves form terminals of vasomotor-type. The arteriomotor and venomotor regulation of the tone of the vessels of the pineal organ may serve the vascular support for circadian and circannual periodic changes in metabolic activity of the pineal tissue.

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