Intrinsic neurons in the rat ovary: An immunohistochemical study

Hortensia D'Albora, Paula Lombide, Sergio R. Ojeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown the presence of neuronal perikarya in the primate ovary, but not in the ovary from Sprague-Dawley rats. We report here that while such intrinsic neurons are indeed absent in this strain of rats, they can be visualized in the ovary from Wistar rats. The neurons, identified by their morphology and by the expression of NeuN (a neuron-specific nuclear protein), were detected at all postnatal intervals examined, from 14 h after birth to 50 days of age. While they were present in the ovarian hilum and medulla at all ages studied, neurons first appeared in the ovarian cortex during the juvenile period (postnatal days 10-20). In all cases, the size of the neuronal soma increased significantly during prepubertal development, reaching maximal values before puberty. Some neurons were catecholaminergic, as indicated by their content of immunoreactyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the rate-limiting enzyme of catecholamine biosynthesis. Some showed neuropeptide Y (NPY) immunoreactivity. TH-positive neurons were seen either in isolation or clustered in ganglion-like structures in both the ovarian cortex and medulla. These results indicate that ovarian neurons are not present in all strains of rats, but when present, the chemical phenotype of some of them is of a sympathetic nature, similar to that described in primates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-56
Number of pages10
JournalCell and tissue research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Neuron specific
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Nuclear protein
  • Ovarian innervation
  • Rat (Wistar; Sprague-Dawley)
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Intrinsic neurons in the rat ovary: An immunohistochemical study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this