Vol 58, No 1 (2020)
Original paper
Published online: 2020-03-23

open access

Page views 1518
Article views/downloads 1013
Get Citation

Connect on Social Media

Connect on Social Media

Cholinergic and adrenergic innervation of the pancreas in chinchilla (Chinchilla Laniger Molina)

Malgorzata Radzimirska1, Jacek Kuchinka1, Elzbieta Nowak1, Wojciech Trybus1, Aleksander Szczurkowski1
Pubmed: 32202307
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2020;58(1):54-60.


Introduction. Cholinergic and adrenergic innervation of the pancreas in chinchilla (Chinchilla Laniger Molina) was examined in this study. The pancreas is both an exocrine and endocrine gland with autonomic and sensory innervation presented by the numerous nerve fibers and small agglomerations of nerve cells.

Material and methods. Investigations were performed on 16 adult chinchillas of both sexes. The material was collected immediately after death of the animals. Histochemical methods: AChE and SPG were used, in addition to routine technique of single and double immunohistochemical (IHC) staining using whole mount specimens and freezing sections with a thickness of 8 to 12 μm. In the immunofluorescence staining, primary antibodies directed against markers used to identify cholinergic — ChAT and VAChT, and adrenergic — DbH and TH neurons. Secondary antibodies were coupled to Alexa Fluor 488 and Alexa Fluor 555 fluorophores.

Results. Histochemical studies (AChE) revealed that chinchilla pancreatic cholinergic innervation consisted of ganglionic neurocytes and numerous nerve fibers. These structures are located in the parenchyma of the exocrine part of the organ in close proximity to blood vessels and are present within the walls of the pancreatic ducts and interstitial connective tissue. A delicate fiber network around the Langerhans islets was also observed. The most numerous cholinergic structures were found in the head and tail, and the least numbers were found in the body of the pancreas. The SPG method revealed that adrenergic fibers form a network in the adventitia of blood vessels, and individual fibers run throughout the pancreatic parenchyma. Moreover, adrenergic nerve fibers were observed around the ganglionic neurocytes. This innervation was similar in all parts of the investigated organ. IHC investigations allowed observations of both the cholinergic and adrenergic activities of autonomic nerve structures. Additionally, using ChAT/DbH double staining, colocalization of these substances was observed in the fibers of the pancreatic parenchyma that passed through the cholinergic ganglia. Colocalization of VAChT and TH was found in nerve fibers of the exocrine part, in the walls of blood vessels, and in individual nerve cells. Colocalization of ChAT/DbH and VAChT/TH was observed in the single nerve cells and in the small (2–3 cell) ganglia. ChAT- and DbH-immunopositive nerve fibers were found in the area of the islets of Langerhans.

Conclusions. The results indicate a more intense cholinergic innervation of the chinchilla’s pancreas, which is represented by both ganglia and nerve fibers, while adrenergic structures are mainly represented by fibers and only single neurocytes. This arrangement of the investigated structures in this species may imply a major role for hormonal control of exocrine secretion in rodents.

Article available in PDF format

View PDF Download PDF file


  1. Love JA, Yi E, Smith TG. Autonomic pathways regulating pancreatic exocrine secretion. Auton Neurosci. 2007; 133(1): 19–34.
  2. Ahrén B. Autonomic regulation of islet hormone secretion--implications for health and disease. Diabetologia. 2000; 43(4): 393–410.
  3. Gilon P, Henquin JC. Mechanisms and physiological significance of the cholinergic control of pancreatic beta-cell function. Endocr Rev. 2001; 22(5): 565–604.
  4. Rodriguez-Diaz R, Abdulreda MH, Formoso AL, et al. Innervation patterns of autonomic axons in the human endocrine pancreas. Cell Metab. 2011; 14(1): 45–54.
  5. Lindsay TH, Halvorson KG, Peters CM, et al. A quantitative analysis of the sensory and sympathetic innervation of the mouse pancreas. Neuroscience. 2006; 137(4): 1417–1426.
  6. Ushiki T, Watanabe S. Distribution and ultrastructure of the autonomic nerves in the mouse pancreas. Microscopy Research and Technique. 1997; 37(5-6): 399–406, doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0029(19970601)37:5/6<399::aid-jemt4>3.0.co;2-9.
  7. Babic T, Travagli RA. 2016. Neuronal control of the pancreas. Pancreapedia. Exocrine pancreas knowledge base. Version 1. ; 0: September.
  8. Li W, Yu G, Liu Y, et al. Intrapancreatic Ganglia and Neural Regulation of Pancreatic Endocrine Secretion. Front Neurosci. 2019; 13: 21.
  9. Trandaburu T. Comparative observations on AChE distribution in pancreas of some amphibians, repitiles and birds, with special reference to the islets of langerhans. Histochemie. 1972; 32(3): 271–279.
  10. Trandaburu T. Ultrastructural and acetylcholinesterase investigations on the pancreas intrinsic innervation of two bird species (Columba livia domestica Gm. and Euodice cantans Gm.). Gegenbaurs Morphol Jahrb. 1974; 120(6): 888–904.
  11. Ulas M, Penkowski A, Lakomy M. Adrenergic and cholinergic innervation of the chicken pancreas. Folia Morphol (Warsz). 2003; 62(3): 243–246.
  12. COUPLAND RE. The innervation of pan creas of the rat, cat and rabbit as revealed by the cholinesterase technique. J Anat. 1958; 92(1): 143–149.
  13. Love JA, Szebeni K. Morphology and histochemistry of the rabbit pancreatic innervation. Pancreas. 1999; 18(1): 53–64.
  14. Arciszewski MB, Zacharko-Siembida A. Cholinergic innervation of the pancreas in the sheep. Acta Biol Hung. 2007; 58(2): 151–161.
  15. Arciszewski MB, Zacharko-Siembida A. A co-localization study on the ovine pancreas innervation. Ann Anat. 2007; 189(2): 157–167.
  16. Lakomy M, Chodkowska D. Cholinergic innervation of pig pancreas. Acta Histochem. 1984; 75(1): 63–68.
  17. Oomori Y, Iuchi H, Ishikawa K, et al. Immunocytochemical study of tyrosine hydroxylase and dopamine beta-hydroxylase immunoreactivities in the rat pancreas. Histochemistry. 1994; 101(5): 313–323.
  18. Gienc J, Kosierkiewicz D, Kuder T. Ganglionic cells and their localization within the secretory system of pancreas in vertebrates. Zool Pol. 1993; 38: 27–38.
  19. Szczurkowski A, Kuchinka J, Nowak E, et al. Autonomic Innervation of Pancreas in Egyptian Spiny Mouse (Acomys cahirinus, Desmarest). Acta Veterinaria Brno. 2009; 78(4): 557–561.
  20. Fabris SE, Thorburn A, Litchfield A, et al. Effect of parasympathetic denervation of liver and pancreas on glucose kinetics in man. Metabolism. 1996; 45(8): 987–991.
  21. Suckow M A, Stevens K A, Wilson R P. The laboratory rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, and other rodents. 1st ed. Saunders: Elsevier 2012.
  22. Kuchinka J. Morphometry and Variability of the Brain Arterial Circle in Chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger, Molina). Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2017; 300(8): 1472–1480.
  23. Nowak E. Organization of the innervation of the oesophagus and stomach in chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger, Molina). Folia Histochemica et Cytobiologica. 2013; 51(2): 115–120.
  24. Nowak E. Organisation of autonomic nervous structures in the large intestine of chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger Molina). Folia Biol (Krakow). 2013; 61(3-4): 135–141.
  25. Nowak E. Organisation of autonomic nervous structures in the small intestine of chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger, Molina). Anat Histol Embryol. 2014; 43(4): 301–309.
  26. Nowak E, Kuchinka J, Szczurkowski A, et al. Extrahepatic biliary tract in chinchilla (Chinchilla laniger, Molina). Anat Histol Embryol. 2015; 44(3): 236–240.
  28. Tsuji S, Larabi Y. A modification of thiocholine-ferricyanide method of Karnovsky and Roots for localization of acetylcholinesterase activity without interference by Koelle's copper thiocholine iodide precipitate. Histochemistry. 1983; 78(3): 317–323.
  29. De la Torre JC. An improved approach to histofluorescence using the SPG method for tissue monoamines. J Neurosci Methods. 1980; 3(1): 1–5.
  30. Trandaburu T. Comparative observations on adrenergic innervation and monoamine content in endocrine pancreas of some amphibians, reptiles and birds. Endokrinologie. 1972; 59(2): 260–264.
  31. Liu HP, Tay SS, Leong S, et al. Colocalization of ChAT, DbetaH and NADPH-d in the pancreatic neurons of the newborn guinea pig. Cell Tissue Res. 1998; 294(2): 227–231.
  32. Qayyum MA, Fatani JA, Shaad FU, et al. A histochemical study on the innervation of the pancreas of the one-humped camel (Camelus dromedarius). J Anat. 1987; 151: 117–123.