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  • Author or Editor: C. Vincze x
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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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In earlier works we have found that in the mammalian pineal organ, a part of autonomic nerves - generally thought to mediate light information from the retina - form vasomotor endings on smooth muscle cells of vessels. We supposed that they serve the vascular support for circadian and circannual periodic changes in the metabolic activity of the pineal tissue. In the present work, we investigated whether peripheral nerves present in the photoreceptive pineal organs of submammalians form similar terminals on microvessels. In the cyclostome, fish, amphibian, reptile and bird species investigated, autonomic nerves accompany vessels entering the arachnoidal capsule and interfollicular meningeal septa of the pineal organ. The autonomic nerves do not enter the pineal tissue proper but remain in the perivasal meningeal septa isolated by basal lamina. They are composed of unmyelinated and myelinated fibers and form terminals around arterioles, veins and capillaries. The terminals contain synaptic and granular vesicles. Comparing various vertebrates, more perivasal terminals were found in reptiles and birds than in the cyclostome, fish and amphibian pineal organs. Earlier, autonomic nerves of the pineal organs were predominantly investigated in connection with the innervation of pineal tissue. The perivasal terminals found in various submammalians show that a part of the pineal autonomic fibers are vasomotoric in nature, but the vasosensor function of some fibers cannot be excluded. We suppose that the vasomotor regulation of the pineal microvessels in the photosensory submamalian pineal - like in mammals - may serve the vascular support for circadian and circannual periodic changes in the metabolic activity of the pineal tissue. The higher number of perivasal terminals in reptiles and birds may correspond to the higher metabolic activity of the tissues in more differentiated species.

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