Palisade endings: Cholinergic sensory organs or effector organs?

Roland Blumer*, Kadriye Zeynep Konakci, Christine Pomikal, Grazyna Wieczorek, Julius Robert Lukas, Johannes Streicher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

32 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE. This study aims to complement the authors' prior findings on palisade endings in extraocular muscles (EOMs) of monkeys, and to clarify whether palisade endings are cholinergic motor or cholinergic sensory. METHODS. Macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis, n = 10) of both sexes were analyzed using three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions, confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), and conventional/immuno transmission electron microscopy (TEM). For CLSM, we used three combinations of triple fluorescent labeling. EOM wholemounts were labeled with cholinergic markers, including choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), choline transporter (ChT), vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT), and a classical postsynaptic marker for motor terminals, namely α-bungarotoxin. Muscle fibers were counterstained with phalloidin. 3D reconstructions were done of triple-labeled palisade endings. For immuno TEM, tissue was labeled with antibody against ChAT. RESULTS. Concordant with prior findings, the authors demonstrated that palisade endings at the muscle fiber tips arose from nerve fibers that are ChAT-positive. In 25% of the cases, axons forming palisade endings established multiple neuromuscular contacts outside the palisade complex. Such additional neuromuscular contacts were motor terminals, as demonstrated by α-bungarotoxin binding. All palisade endings established nerve terminals on the tendon. In 40% of the palisade endings, nerve terminals were observed on the muscle fiber as well. Neurotendinous contacts and neuromuscular contacts in palisade endings were ChT/ChAT/VAChT- immunoreactive. Neuromuscular contacts exhibited structural features of motor terminals and were also α-bungarotoxin positive. CONCLUSIONS. The present study ascertained that palisade endings are cholinergic motor organs. Therefore, it was concluded that palisade endings are not candidates to provide eye-position signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1176-1186
Number of pages11
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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