Rat sympathetic ganglia were disrupted by mechanical agitation to yield dissociated primary neurons, and the conditions for long-term growth in culture of the isolated neurons were examined. The neurons were grown with or without non-neural cells, simply by the addition or deletion of bicarbonate during growth in culture. Fluorescence histochemistry indicated that the isolated neurons contained catecholamines; incubations with radioactive precursors were used to verify the synthesis and accumulation of both dopamine and norepinephrine. The neurons also produced octopamine using tyramine as precursor, but not with tyrosine as the precursor. In the presence of eserine, older cultures synthesized and stored small amounts of acetylcholine. The cultures did not synthesize and accumulate detectable levels of radioactive γ-aminobutyric acid, 5-hydroxytryptamine, or histamine.

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