A cholinesterase localization method and a monoamine histofluorescence technique were used to locate nerve fibres in regenerating rat submandibular gland autografts. Experimental rats had a portion of one submandibular gland excised and cut into small fragments which were autografted immediately into the middle one-thrid of the tongue. Control rats had a portion of one submandibular gland removed and discarded, and their tongues were sham-operated. Seven to ten weeks later, the rats were killed and the tongues were removed, frozen and sectioned in a cryostat. A light microscopical study of the tongue sections subjected to the cholinesterase technique showed that the submandibular gland autografts contained many nerve fibres that exhibited cholinesterase activity. These cholinesterase-positive nerve fibres were distributed throughout the autografts. The fibres were associated with the numerous duct-like structures and the less numerous acini. In addition, ultraviolet illumination of tongue sections after treatment with a glyoxylic acid mixture revealed histofluorescent monoaminergic nerves within the autografts. These fibres were less prominent than the cholinesterase-positive fibres and appeared to run primarily along blood vessels within the autografts. The results suggest that autonomic nerves are present within regenerating submandibular gland autografts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology