Rapid increase in enzyme and peptide mRNA in sympathetic ganglia after electrical stimulation in humans
Thoracic ganglia in humans were studied after electrical, preganglionic stimulation using in situ hybridization with synthetic oligonucleotide probes against the catecholamine-synthesizing enzymes tyrosine hydroxylase (EC 220.127.116.11) and dopamine beta-hydroxylase (EC 18.104.22.168) and neuropeptide tyrosine. Immunohistochemical analysis was also performed. Following short peroperative stimulation a severalfold increase in all three mRNAs was found in principal ganglion cells, whereas no definite changes could be detected in enzyme or peptide levels with immunohistochemistry. The results suggest a very rapid and sensitive regulation of genes involved in signal transmission in the sympathetic nervous system of humans. Moreover, they indicate that electrical stimulation of neurons and/or pathways combined with in situ hybridization may be used as a method to define neuronal projections by visualizing increases in mRNAs for transmitter enzymes and/or peptide in target cells.