Author(s): Nohr D, Weihe E
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Abstract This light microscopic immunohistochemical study investigates the distribution and target interrelations of nerve fibers in bronchus-associated lymphoid tissues (BALT) of rat and cat by using antisera against (1) the polyneuronal marker protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5), (2) selected opioid and nonopioid peptides, and (3) the marker enzymes tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH). In both species, a similar distribution pattern of PGP, peptide, and catecholamine enzyme immunoreactive was observed. Anti-PGP 9.5 stained all nerve fibers (except some smaller, calcitonin gene-related peptide-immunoreactive (CGRP-ir) fibers presumably of the C-type) throughout the different compartments of BALT, e.g., under the epithelium, in the smooth muscle layer, along the vasculature, and between immune cells of BALT parenchyma. The distribution of fibers staining for peptides (substance P (SP), (CGRP), neuropeptide Y (NPY). Leu-enkephalin, Met-enkephalin-Arg-Gly-Leu) and/or the catecholamine enzymes was also not compartment-specific. However, the density of the different peptidergic fibers and those staining for the marker enzymes exhibited region- and target-specific variations, e.g., fibers, cocontaining substance P and CGRP were more ubiquitous in nonvascular regions than codistributed NPY-, TH-, and DBH-ir fibers, which clearly prevailed in perivascular plexus. Regularly, nerve fibers staining for any of the peptides and markers investigated formed close contacts with mast cells, cells of the macrophage/monocyte cell line (identified as ED1 + cells), and/or other lymphoid cells, although with different frequencies. We assume that the SP/CGRP innervation is mainly of primary sensory origin, while the NPY innervation is chiefly derived from postganglionic noradrenergic sympathetic neurons. The VIP/PHI component is most likely postganglionic cholinergic while the opioid component, apparently derived from the Proenkephalin precursor, could be of differential origin. We propose that the neuroimmune connections in BALT play a significant role in the regulation and/or modulation of physiological/pathophysiological mechanisms of the lung. BALT may also be an integral part of the psycho-neuro-immune axis.
This article was published in Brain Behav Immun
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research