Ganglionic and non-ganglionic neurons in frog heart: do they differ?
Keywords: axon, dendrites, soma, heart, autonomic, ganglion
AbstractThis study was designed to compare the morphology of neurons in relation to their distance from the major nerve trunks in the heart of the frog Rana temporaria. Seventy-nine intracardiac neurons were labelled intracellularly with fluorescent markers Lucifer Yellow CH and Alexa Fluor 568. The neurons located on the extensions of the vagus nerve were considered as ganglionic, while neurons spread loosely at further distance from these extensions were considered as non-ganglionic. The mean area of the soma in ganglionic neurons was about 25% larger than in non-ganglionic neurons. Ganglionic neurons had a higher soma area/nucleus area ratio than non-ganglionic neurons. Although both the total number and the total length of dendrite-like processes was similar between the two groups, ganglionic neurons had significantly fewer dendrite-like processes from the soma (1.5±0.3 vs. 3.9±1.0; P<0.05) and shorter total length of these processes from the soma (63±18 μm vs. 178±51 μm; P<0.05). In conclusion, ganglionic and non-ganglionic frog intracardiac neurons exhibit substantial morphological differences. We hypothesize that these differences may indicate different projections or variations in the number of their preganglionic inputs.