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      Sympathetic Innervation of the Cardiovascular System in the Giraffe

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          The extreme blood pressure gradients in the giraffe, produced by gravity and behaviour, present a special challenge to blood flow and vascular capacity regulation, e.g. via sympathetic nerves. We report the distribution of nerves in vascular tissue from giraffe extremities and neck based on immunofluorescence against specific antisera to dopamine-β-hydroxylase, neuropeptide Y, neurofilament, and synapsin I. Sympathetic innervation of gravitation-dependent arteries in the limbs was restricted to the adventitia-media border, while in carotid arteries fibers penetrated deep into the media. Surprisingly, limb veins appeared to be devoid of sympathetic innervation, while jugular veins had a sparse innervation. The morphological response, medial hypertrophy, that parallels the hydrostatic pressure gradients in the circulation combines with the thick skin and tight underlying fascia, the ‘g-suit’, and an exquisitely distributed sympathetic innervation pattern to provide an effective array of mechanisms for cardiovascular regulation in the adult giraffe.

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          Author and article information

          J Vasc Res
          Journal of Vascular Research
          S. Karger AG
          23 September 2008
          : 25
          : 6
          : 299-307
          aInstitute of Neurobiology, University of Göteborg, Sweden; bSpace Physiology Branch, NASA-Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif, USA; cDepartment of Pharmacology and Cell Biophysics, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; dDepartment of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Biochemistry, AB Hässle, Mölndal, Sweden
          158743 Blood Vessels 1988;25:299–307
          © 1988 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          Pages: 9
          Research Paper


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