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Mol Neurobiol. 2012 Apr;45(2):362-5. doi: 10.1007/s12035-012-8235-3. Epub 2012 Jan 25.

Preservation of α-3 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor expression in sympathetic ganglia after brain death.

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Division of Thoracic Surgery, Heart Institute, University of São Paulo, Av. Dr. Eneas de Carvalho Aguiar, 44, 2° andar, 05403-900 São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.


The goal of this study was to evaluate if the immunohistochemical expression of alpha-3 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit in sympathetic ganglia remains stable after brain death, determining the possible use of sympathetic thoracic ganglia from subjects after brain death as study group. The third left sympathetic ganglion was resected from patients divided in two groups: BD-organ donors after brain death and CON-patients submitted to sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis (control group). Immunohistochemical staining for alpha-3 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit was performed; strong and weak expression areas were quantified in both groups. The BD group showed strong alpha-3 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor expression in 6.55% of the total area, whereas the CON group showed strong expression in 5.91% (p = 0.78). Weak expression was found in 6.47% of brain-dead subjects and in 7.23% of control subjects (p = 0.31). Brain death did not affect the results of the immunohistochemical analysis of sympathetic ganglia, and its use as study group is feasible.

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