An electron microscopic analysis of the left phrenic nerve in the rat



In this electron microscopic study, the axonal categories in the left phrenic nerve at its entrance to the diaphragm have been determined. At a level 3 mm rostral to the diaphragm, the left phrenic nerve contains approximately 700 axons: 57% are myelinated and 43% are unmyelinated. The dorsal root ganglion cells give rise to 31% of the myelinated axons and the ventral root contributes 69%. Of the unmyelinated axons, the dorsal root ganglion cell contributes 59%, the cervical sympathetic chain 24%, and 17% course through the ventral roots. These ventral root unmyelinated axons are presumably preganglionic efferents since the proximal stump of the ventral root showed no decrease in unmyelinated axons after ventral rhizotomy.