Cerebrovascular projections from the sphenopalatine and otic ganglia to the middle cerebral artery of the cat
The location of the postganglionic parasympathetic cell bodies projecting to cerebral arteries is unknown. Using axonal tracing techniques, we examined whether the sphenopalatine ganglia (associated with the seventh cranial nerve) and otic ganglia (associated with ninth cranial nerve) contain perikarya which send axons to the feline middle cerebral artery (MCA). The tracers horseradish peroxidase (HRP: 3 cats) or wheat germ agglutinin (WGA: 6 cats) were applied to the MCA in a slow release polymeric system. Three days later the SPG, otic ganglia, and rete mirabile were harvested bilaterally and processed for tracer by the TMB method (HRP) or immunohistochemistry (WGA). In a given animal, approximately equal numbers of cells containing axonal tracer were found in both SPG. Labeled fibers occasionally could be seen extending into the vidian nerve. Positive cells were also found in the otic ganglia and in the walls of the internal rete mirabile. These results provide the first identification of parasympathetic cell bodies projecting to cerebral blood vessels.