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Table 1 Selected subpopulations of postganglionic sympathetic neurons

From: Sympathetic tales: subdivisons of the autonomic nervous system and the impact of developmental studies

A) electrophysiologically defined subpopulations
Neuron class MVC CVC SM PM  
Transmitter NE NE ACH NE  
Peptide cat NPY NPY VIP   
GAL GAL CGRP GAL  
Peptide guinea pig NPY NPY VIP   
  DYN CGRP DYN  
major stimulus
 human baro-inhibition cooling general warming general   
 cat baro-inhibition temperature vibration hypothalamic stimulation (selected from [17]
B) subpopulations defined by RNA sequencing
Neuron class NA 1 NA 2 NA 3 NA 4 NA 5 ACH 1 ACH 2
Average transcript number per cell
 TH 69 105 93 85 100 25 1
 DBH 48 83 71 79 67 37 21
 DDC 43 105 91 107 88 28 12
 VMAT 2 29 63 58 38 34 4 2
 CHAT zero zero zero zero zero 2 1
 VACHT zero zero zero zero zero 7 9
 NPY 117 678 478 63 22 74 11
 SOM zero 1 zero zero zero 3 53
 VIP 1 1 1 zero zero 367 200
 CGRP (CALCA/B) zero zero zero zero zero 4/3 6/5
defined target   erector    erector   
  muscle    muscle   
compiled from [80], supplementary figure nn.4376 – S4
  1. The table displays a selected set of sympathetic neurons derived from electrophysiological analysis (A) or from RNA sequencing profiles (B)
  2. Electrophysiological analysis (A) defined a large number of sympathetic neuron classes named according to the target tissue supplied by the nerves from which recordings are made: MVC Muscle vasoconstrictor, SVC Skin vasoconstrictor, SM Sudomotor and PM Pilomotor among other populations not listed here. Classical neurotransmitters NE Norepinephrine and ACH Acetylcholine as well as neuropeptides detected in cat and guinea pig are provided for the individual neuron classes. In addition, the major stimuli detected by microneurography in humans and extracellular recording from prepared nerve filaments in cats are indicated to demonstrate the different reflex circuits and functional integration of the neuron classes
  3. RNA sequencing profiles analyzed by unsupervised clustering algorithms (B) from material derived from stellate and thoracic mouse sympathetic ganglia disclosed a number of noradrenergic (NA 1 to 5) and cholinergic (ACH 1, 2) neuron populations distinguished by the preferential expression of certain genes. The numbers shown for the different genes give the average number of transcripts for the respective gene in a cell of a given population. Interestingly transcripts for noradrenergic markers TH Tyrosine hydroxylase, DBH Dopamine beta hydroxylase, DDC DOPA decarboxylase and the VMAT 2 Vesicular monoamine transporter 2 are not absent from the cholinergic neuron populations. On the other hand, cholinergic markers CHAT choline acetyltransferase and the VACHT Vesicular acetylcholine transporter are not detectable in the noradrenergic neuron populations. The NPY Neuropeptide is not absent from cholinergic neurons while SOM Somatostatin and VIP Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide are largely restricted to one or both cholinergic neuron populations. The targets given for the NA 2 and NA 5 are derived from developmental analysis and genetic labeling of specifically expressed genes. The high level SOM expression in ACH2 is characteristic for sudomotor neurons