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The pelvic organs receive no parasympathetic innervation

Margaux Sivori#, Bowen Dempsey#, Zoubida Chettouh, Franck Boismoreau, Maïlys Ayerdi, Annaliese Eymael, Sylvain Baulande, Sonia Lameiras, Fanny Coulpier, Olivier Delattre, Hermann Rohrer, Olivier Mirabeau#, Jean-François Brunet#

Abstract

The pelvic organs (bladder, rectum, and sex organs) have been represented for a century as receiving autonomic innervation from two pathways - lumbar sympathetic and sacral parasympathetic - by way of a shared relay, the pelvic ganglion, conceived as an assemblage of sympathetic and parasympathetic neurons. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, we find that the mouse pelvic ganglion is made of four classes of neurons, distinct from both sympathetic and parasympathetic ones, albeit with a kinship to the former, but not the latter, through a complex genetic signature. We also show that spinal lumbar preganglionic neurons synapse in the pelvic ganglion onto equal numbers of noradrenergic and cholinergic cells, both of which therefore serve as sympathetic relays. Thus, the pelvic viscera receive no innervation from parasympathetic or typical sympathetic neurons, but instead from a divergent tail end of the sympathetic chains, in charge of its idiosyncratic functions.

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Elife. 2024 Mar 15:12:RP91576. doi : 10.7554/eLife.91576