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Anat Embryol (Berl). 1992 Oct;186(5):431-42.

An anterograde tracing study of the vagal innervation of rat liver, portal vein and biliary system.

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Anatomy Institute, University of Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


In order to investigate the distribution and structure of the vagal liver innervation, abdominal vagal afferents and efferents were selectively labeled by injecting WGA-HRP or Dil into the nodose ganglia, and DiA into the dorsal motor nucleus, respectively. Vagal afferent fibers produced characteristic terminal-like structures at three locations in the liver hilus: 1. Fine varicose endings preferentially surrounding, but not entering, the numerous peribiliary glands in the larger intra and extrahepatic bile ducts 2. Large, cup-shaped terminals in almost all paraganglia 3. Fine varicose endings in the portal vein adventitia. No fibers and terminals were found in the hepatic parenchyma. While about two thirds of the vagal afferent fibers that originate in the left nodose ganglion, and are contained in the hepatic branch, bypass the liver hilus area on their way to the gastroduodenal artery, a significant number (approx. 10% of the total) of vagal afferents that do innervate the area, originates from the right nodose ganglion, and projects to the periarterial plexus of the common hepatic artery and liver pedicle most likely through the dorsal celiac branch. Varicose vagal efferent fibers were present within the fascicles of the vagal hepatic branch and fine terminal-like structures in a small fraction of the paraganglia. No efferents were found to terminate in the hepatic parenchyma or on the few neurons embedded in nerves or paraganglia. In contrast to the paucity of vagal terminals in the hepatic parenchyma, an abundance of vagal efferent and afferent fibers and terminals with distinctive distribution patterns and structural characteristics was present in esophagus and gastrointestinal tract.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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