Immunohistochemical demonstration of human cardiac innervation before and after transplantation.
Knowledge about the distribution and origins of peptide-containing nerves in the innervated and transplanted heart is lacking. Immunohistochemical and histochemical techniques were used to visualize human cardiac innervation before and after transplantation. In the recipient heart cardiac nerve fibers and fascicles displayed immunoreactivity for general neural (protein gene product 9.5 and synaptophysin) and Schwann cell markers (S-100). A major proportion of cardiac nerves displayed neuropeptide tyrosine and tyrosine hydroxylase immunofluorescence staining. Subpopulations of nerves contained somatostatin, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, calcitonin gene-related peptide, substance P- or neurokinin-like immunoreactivity, and acetylcholinesterase activity. Tissues from cardiac allografts (5 weeks to 63 months after transplantation) contained nerves and ganglion cells that were acetylcholinesterase positive and immunoreactive for the general neural markers. These nerves were less numerous than in recipient hearts and rarely displayed neuropeptide immunostaining. Atrial natriuretic peptide immunoreactivity was localized to myocardial cells in transplanted hearts as well as explanted recipient and postmortem hearts. While most human cardiac allografts remain functionally extrinsically denervated, they appear to contain viable intrinsic nerves, and myocardial cells retain the capacity to produce atrial natriuretic peptide.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association