Neurosci Lett 95(1-3):1-6, 1988

Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) immunoreactivity in the ependymal cells of the rat spinal cord.

Chung K, Lee WT

Marine Biomedical Institute, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston 77550-2772.

Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) was demonstrated immunohistochemically in the entire ependymal and subependymal cells in all levels (cervical: C, thoracic: T, lumbar: L and sacral: S) of normal adult rat spinal cord.

The VIP-immunoreactive basal processes from the apical ependymal cells coursed dorsally or ventrally along the median plane and reached the pia mater of the dorsal and ventral median septa. Many VIP-immunoreactive basal processes terminated on the blood vessels in the neuropil around the central canal. A few microvilli of the ependymal cells that project into the central canal also demonstrated intense VIP immunoreactivity.

These observations suggest that ependymal cells may be involved in the modulation of VIP levels in the cerebrospinal fluid and regulation of vascular tone of the blood vessels in the spinal cord.