The present study reports the results of physiological and anatomical experiments in which the purpose was to determine whether desheathing the nodose ganglion is a reliable method of vagal de-efferentation in the ferret. In physiological studies, the effects of electrically stimulating the treated and untreated vagal nerves on cardiovascular and intestinal responses were examined and compared with previously obtained data after left supranodose vagotomy. The anatomical studies illustrated the effects of desheating the left nodose ganglion on the transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) within a thoracic vagal communicating branch. These data were compared to data from control animals and animals that had undergone left supranodose vagotomy. The results demonstrated that severing the fascicles overlying the left nodose ganglion and allowing the nerve fibers to degenerate, caused no reduction in labeled efferent cell bodies in the left dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus as compared to controls. However, after left supranodose vagotomy there were no efferent cell bodies labeled in the left dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus. Following degeneration of the fascicles, electrical stimulation of the peripheral cut end of this nerve did not abolish the efferent responses in 7 out of 9 animals studied, whereas supranodose vagotomy abolished the responses in all animals. These findings demonstrate that desheathing the nodose ganglion and thereby removing the nerve bundles overlying the nodose ganglion is not a guaranteed method of destroying the efferent fibers in the vagus nerve of the ferret. Supranodose vagotomy, therefore, is a more reliable method of de-efferentation in this species.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, the Medical Research Council of Canada and the National Institute of Health. We would also like to thank Drs. Lucier, Davison and Dodds for their advice and comments on the final draft of the manuscript.