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      Sympathetic Innervation of Human Mesenteric Artery and Vein


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          Background: Innervation of blood vessels shows inter-species variability. There are few studies on the innervation of human vessels; thus, healthy mesenteric vessels were studied to identify the expression of immunomarkers and the morphology of sympathetic innervation as the basis for a study of mesenteric vessels in inflammatory bowel disease. Methods and Results: Electron microscopy studies examined the relationships of nerves to smooth muscle cells. In veins, nerves were distributed throughout the medial smooth muscle coat, often in close apposition (50 nm) to smooth muscle cells. In arteries, nerves were located at the adventitial-medial border, few closer than 2,000 nm to smooth muscle cells, often with interposing connective tissue and Schwann cell processes. There was a significantly greater nerve density in veins than in arteries (227 vs. 41 mm<sup>2</sup>; p = 0.03). Immunohistochemical studies revealed the presence of sympathetic and sensory-motor nerves in arteries and veins. Conclusions: It is suggested that in humans with an upright stance, the mesenteric venous system plays a particularly important role in controlling mesenteric capacitance, which is reflected by their dense innervation. It is speculated that transmitters released from perivascular nerves supplying the human mesenteric arteries may play a long-term (trophic) role in addition to short-term signalling roles.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Purinergic signaling and vascular cell proliferation and death.

          Evidence for the role of purinergic signaling (via P1 and P2Y receptors) in the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells is reviewed. The involvement of the mitogen-activated protein kinase second-messenger cascade in this action is clearly implicated, although details of the precise intracellular pathways involved still remain to be determined. Synergistic actions of purines and pyrimidines with growth factors occur in promoting cell proliferation. Interaction between purinergic signaling for vascular cell proliferation and cell death mediated by P2X7 receptors is discussed. There is evidence of the release of ATP from endothelial cells, platelets, and sympathetic nerves as well as from damaged cells in atherosclerosis, hypertension, restenosis, and ischemia; furthermore, there is evidence that vascular smooth muscle and endothelial cells proliferate in these pathological conditions. Thus, the involvement of ATP and its breakdown product, adenosine, is implicated; it is hoped that with the development of selective P1 (A2) and P2Y receptor agonists and antagonists, new therapeutic strategies will be explored.
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            New insights into the local regulation of blood flow by perivascular nerves and endothelium.

            Blood flow, particularly in the skin, is essential for the success of plastic surgical operations. This review describes recent studies of the perivascular nerves and vascular endothelial cells which regulate blood flow. Perivascular nerves, once considered simply adrenergic or cholinergic, release many types of neurotransmitters, including peptides, purines and nitric oxide. Cotransmission (synthesis, storage and release of more than one transmitter by a single nerve) commonly takes place. Some afferent nerves have an efferent (motor) function and axon reflex control of vascular tone by these "sensory-motor" nerves is more widespread than once thought. Endothelial cells mediate both vasodilatation and vasoconstriction. The endothelial cells can store and release vasoactive substances such as acetylcholine (vasodilator) and endothelin (vasoconstrictor). The origins and functions of such vasoactive substances are discussed. Endothelial vasoactive substances may be of greater significance in the response of blood vessels to local changes while perivascular nerves may be concerned with integration of blood flow in the whole organism. The dual regulation of vascular tone by perivascular nerves and endothelial cells is altered by aging and conditions such as hypertension, as well as by trauma and surgery. Studies of vascular tone in disease and after denervation or mechanical injury suggest possible trophic interactions between perivascular nerves and endothelial cells. Such trophic interactions may be important for growth and development of the two control systems, particularly in the microvasculature where neural-endothelial separation is small.
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              Non-synaptic transmission at autonomic neuroeffector junctions.

              Non-synaptic transmission is characteristic of autonomic neuroeffector junctions. The structure of the autonomic neuromuscular junction is described. The essential features are that: the terminal portions of autonomic nerve fibers are varicose and mobile, transmitters being released 'en passage' from varying distances from the effector cells; while there is no structural post-junctional specialization on effector cells, receptors for neurotransmitters accumulate on cell membranes at close junctions; muscle effectors are bundles rather than single smooth muscle cells, that are connected by gap junctions which allow electrotonic spread of activity between cells. A multiplicity of transmitters are utilized by autonomic nerves, and cotransmission occurs often involving synergistic actions of the cotransmitters, although pre- and post-junctional neuromodulation of neurotransmitter release also take place. It is suggested that autonomic neural control of immune, epithelial and endothelial cells also involves non-synaptic transmission.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                June 2008
                03 March 2008
                : 45
                : 4
                : 323-332
                aAutonomic Neuroscience Centre, and bDepartment of Surgery, Royal Free and University College Medical School, and cDepartment of Anatomy, University College London, London, UK
                119095 J Vasc Res 2008;45:323–332
                © 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 2, References: 29, Pages: 10
                Research Paper


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