Synaptic Connections between Endomorphin 2-Immunoreactive Terminals and μ-Opioid Receptor-Expressing Neurons in the Sacral Parasympathetic Nucleus of the Rat.

TitleSynaptic Connections between Endomorphin 2-Immunoreactive Terminals and μ-Opioid Receptor-Expressing Neurons in the Sacral Parasympathetic Nucleus of the Rat.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsDou XL, Qin RL, Qu J, Liao YH, Lu YC, Zhang T, Shao C, Li Y
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue5
Paginatione62028
Date Published2013
Abstract

The urinary bladder is innervated by parasympathetic preganglionic neurons (PPNs) that express μ-opioid receptors (MOR) in the sacral parasympathetic nucleus (SPN) at lumbosacral segments L6-S1. The SPN also contains endomorphin 2 (EM2)-immunoreactive (IR) fibers and terminals. EM2 is the endogenous ligand of MOR. In the present study, retrograde tract-tracing with cholera toxin subunit b (CTb) or wheat germ agglutinin-conjugated horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) via the pelvic nerve combined with immunohistochemical staining for EM2 and MOR to identify PPNs within the SPN as well as synaptic connections between the EM2-IR terminals and MOR-expressing PPNs in the SPN of the rat. After CTb was injected into the pelvic nerve, CTb retrogradely labeled neurons were almost exclusively located in the lateral part of the intermediolateral gray matter at L6-S1 of the lumbosacral spinal cord. All of the them also expressed MOR. EM2-IR terminals formed symmetric synapses with MOR-IR, WGA-HRP-labeled and WGA-HRP/MOR double-labeled neuronal cell bodies and dendrites within the SPN. These results provided morphological evidence that EM2-containing axon terminals formed symmetric synapses with MOR-expressing PPNs in the SPN. The present results also show that EM2 and MOR might be involved in both the homeostatic control and information transmission of micturition.

DOI10.1155/2013/405284
Alternate JournalPLoS ONE