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Anat Cell Biol. 2018 Dec;51(4):266-273. English. Original Article.
Kim JH , Cho KH , Jin ZW , Murakami G , Abe H , Chai OH .
Department of Anatomy and Institute of Medical Science, Chonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Korea.
Department of Neurology, Wonkwang University School of Medicine and Hospital, Institute of Wonkwang Medical Science, Iksan, Korea.
Department of Anatomy, Wuxi Medical School, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China.
Division of Internal Medicine, Asuka Hospital, Sapporo, Japan.
Department of Anatomy, Akita University School of Medicine, Akita, Japan.

The ganglion cardiacum or juxtaductal body is situated along the left recurrent laryngeal nerve in the aortic window and is an extremely large component of the cardiac nerve plexus. This study was performed to describe the morphologies of the ganglion cardiacum or juxtaductal body in human fetuses and to compare characteristics with intracardiac ganglion. Ganglia were immunostained in specimens from five fetuses of gestational age 12–16 weeks and seven fetuses of gestational age 28–34 weeks. Many ganglion cells in the ganglia were positive for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH; sympathetic nerve marker) and chromogranin A, while a few neurons were positive for neuronal nitric oxide synthase (NOS; parasympathetic nerve marker) or calretinin. Another ganglion at the base of the ascending aorta carried almost the same neuronal populations, whereas a ganglion along the left common cardinal vein contained neurons positive for chromogranin A and NOS but no or few TH-positive neurons, suggesting a site-dependent difference in composite neurons. Mixtures of sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons within a single ganglion are consistent with the morphology of the cranial base and pelvic ganglia. Most of the intracardiac neurons are likely to have a non-adrenergic non-cholinergic phenotype, whereas fewer neurons have a dual cholinergic/noradrenergic phenotype. However, there was no evidence showing that chromogranin A- and/or calretinin-positive cardiac neurons corresponded to these specific phenotypes. The present study suggested that the ganglion cardiacum was composed of a mixture of sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons, which were characterized the site-dependent differences in and near the heart.

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