Galanin immunoreactivity was observed in nerve cell bodies and nerve fibres, but not in enteroendocrine cells, in the small intestine of the guinea-pig. Nerve terminals were found in the myenteric plexus, in the circular muscle, in submucous ganglia, around submucous arterioles, and in the mucosa. Lesion studies showed that all terminals were intrinsic to the intestine; those in myenteric ganglia arose from cell bodies in more orally placed ganglia. Myenteric nerve cells were also the source of terminals in the circular muscle. Galanin (GAL) was located in a population of submucous nerve cell bodies that also showed immunoreactivity for vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and in a separate population that was immunoreactive for neuropeptide Y (NPY). Processes of the GAL/VIP neurons supplied submucous arterioles and the mucosal epithelium. Processes of GAL/NPY neurons ran to the mucosa. It is concluded that galanin immunoreactivity occurs in several functionally distinct classes of enteric neurons, amongst which are neurons controlling (i) motility, (ii) intestinal blood flow, and (iii) mucosal water and electrolyte transport.
- Enteric nervous system
- Intestine, small