The glyoxylic catecholaminergic histofluorescence method was employed on human palatine tonsil specimens in order to study the sympathetic innervation present. One percent neutral red was used as a counterstain. Abundant sympathetic fibers were demonstrable around the blood vessels of the medulla and capsule. However, few sympathetic fibers were found around the vessels of the subepithelial connective tissue and interfollicular septa. In the areas of the follicle and extrafollicle where B and T lymphocytes were located, sympathetic fibers were not found. These findings indicate that if sympathetic innervation can affect T and B cells, it will do so indirectly. Results also show that there is a higher norepinephrine content in focally infected tonsils that is not due to hyperactivity of the sympathetic nerve, but may be due to other mechanisms. Finally surgical dissection at the capsule during tonsillectomy will reduce bleeding, perhaps because vessels there have an abundant sympathetic innervation that leads to good vessel contraction.
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