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Ann Anat. 1999 Dec;181(6):561-5.

Developmental changes in vasoactive intestinal polypeptide immunoreactivity in the human paravertebral ganglia.

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Department of Human Anatomy, Minsk State Medical Institute, Belarus.


Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) belongs to the glucagon-secretin family of polypeptides and possesses numerous functions. Its existence in the mammalian central and peripheral nervous system has been widely documented. However, there are no reports on the developmental aspects of VIP-like immunoreactivity (VIP-IR) in the human postganglionic sympathetic neurons. In this study the availability and distribution of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide has been localized in human stellate ganglia neurons and nerve fibers from neonates, children and adults using the immunohistochemical method. In neonatal ganglia VIP-immunoreactive postganglionic neurons were revealed in a marked population compared to others age-groups. These nerve cells are both small and large in size and are distributed in small clusters or singly in the area of ganglia sections. In children, VIP-IR in ganglionic neurons decreases. In adult stellate ganglia, VIP-immunoreactive postganglionic neurons rarely occur. In ganglia of an individual human only varicosities of VIP-positive nerve fibers were observed. These results provide the age-dependent reduction of VIP-like immunoreactivity in human stellate ganglia neurons and suggest the different role of this peptide in the function of sympathetic ganglia neurons with age.

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