In this study we examined the possibility that serotonin (5-HT) and substance P (SP) coexist in fibers and terminals afferent to sympathoadrenal preganglionic (SAP) neurons in the intermediolateral cell column (IML) of the spinal cord. SAP neurons in the IML were identified by retrograde labeling with either Fast Blue or True Blue injected into the adrenal medulla of rats. A simultaneous immunofluorescent double labeling technique was used to identify both 5-HT- and SP-like immunoreactivity in single tissue sections. Labeled SAP neurons were observed which were apposed by fibers immunoreactive for either neurotransmitter, as well as SAP neurons apposed by neither 5-HT- nor SP-like immunoreactive structures. In addition, 5-HT- and SP-like immunoreactivity were observed in separate fibers apposing the same labeled neuron and coexisting in fibers and terminal appearing in apposition to labeled SAP neurons. These data suggest a complex interaction by these neurotransmitters in regulating sympathetic outflow and may provide a model for interpreting conflicting observations concerning the effects of local 5-HT administration on sympathetic nerve activity.
- adrenal medulla
- intermediolateral cell column
- retrograde labeling
- substance P
- sympathetic outflow