Neuropeptide Y (NPY)-immunoreactivity has been shown to be present in sympathetic nerve fibres in the rat pineal gland and a dense network of NPY-containing nerve fibres demonstrated to innervate the rat circle of Willis. The NPY content of the major rabbit intracranial arteries was determined by radioimmunoassay and maximal levels found in the anterior cerebral arteries. After bilateral superior cervical ganglion (SCG) removal, no NPY was detectable in the rat pineal gland; however, significant NPY-immunoreactive nerve fibres remained throughout the rat vertebrobasilar arteries, and 47% of the assayable NPY was still present. Neither intraventricular 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) nor the combination of 6-OHDA treatment and SCG removal resulted in any further loss of NPY. In conclusion, the NPY innervation of the pineal gland originates exclusively from the peripheral sympathetic nervous system. In contrast the caudal portion of the rat circle of Willis contains NPY fibres which are resistant to sympathectomy. © 1985.
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