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Brain Res. 2006 Nov 13;1119(1):94-100. Epub 2006 Sep 7.

Ultrastructural anatomy of the renal nerves in rats.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Brazil.


The innervation within mammalian kidneys (intrinsic innervation) has been extensively described in the literature, particularly for rats. In contrast, there is still a lack of detailed description of the morphology of the extrinsic renal nerves leading to the kidney. The aim of the present study was to describe, in detail, the morphology of the renal nerves in rats. Left renal nerves were evaluated in 6 normal adult Wistar rats. After nerve recordings, in order to ascertain that the nerves studied were the extrinsic renal nerves, rats were killed and the nerves prepared for transmission electron microscopy. Morphometry was carried out with the aid of computer software. The total numbers of myelinated and unmyelinated fibers were 22+/-6 and 1246+/-110, respectively, with a ratio of unmyelinated/myelinated fiber of 109+/-26. The diameters of myelinated fibers showed an unimodal distribution with a peak at 3.0 microm but more than 17% of the fibers showed diameters larger than 5 microm. Unmyelinated fiber distribution was unimodal, with peak between 0.5 and 0.7 microm. The present study adds new information on the morphology of renal nerves in rats and provides morphological basis for further studies involving the structural basis of altered renal responses in conditions such as hypertension, ageing, diabetes and peripheral neuropathies.

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