Pineal organ, Mongolian gerbil
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Nerve fibers connecting the brain with the pineal gland of the Mongolian gerbil (central pinealopetal fibers) were investigated by means of light and electron microscopy. Several myelinated fibers penetrate from the brain into the deep pineal gland, extend further into the pineal stalk and continue to the superficial portion of the pineal gland. In the centripetal direction these fibers were traced to the stria medullaris and to the habenular nuclei, where they turned laterad and then occupied a position immediately ventral to the optic tract. As shown in electron micrographs, lesions of the habenular area led to degeneration of myelinated fibers and nerve boutons in the deep pineal gland, the pineal stalk and the superficial pineal gland. Only boutons containing clear transmitter vesicles (devoid of a dense core) were observed to degenerate after the habenular lesions. On the other hand, removal of the superior cervical ganglia resulted in degeneration of boutons containing small (40 to 60 nm in diameter) dense-core vesicles. Several of the nerve fibers that penetrate into the deep pineal directly from the brain (central fibers) exhibited a positive reaction for acetylcholinesterase (AChE). AChE-positive perikarya were located in the projections of the stria medullaris, the lateral portions of the deep pineal, the area of the posterior commissure, and the periventricular gray of the mesencephalon. Such perikarya were found neither in the pineal stalk nor in the superficial pineal gland. These results present anatomical evidence that the pineal organ of the Mongolian gerbil receives multiple nervous inputs mediated by peripheral autonomic (i.e., sympathetic) nerve fibers, on the one hand, and by central fibers, on the other.
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