Histochemical demonstration of monoaminergic and cholinesterase-positive nerve fibres in regenerating rat submandibular gland autografts

Norris L. O'Dell, Mohamed M.H. Sharawy, Jacob S. Hanker

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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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-674
Number of pages10
JournalThe Histochemical Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 1985


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology

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