Immunoreactivity for vitamin D-dependent calcium-binding protein (CaBP) has been localized in nerve cell bodies and nerve fibres in the gastrointestinal tracts of guinea-pig, rat and man. CaBP immunoreactivity was found in a high proportion of nerve cell bodies of the myenteric plexus, particularly in the small intestine. It was also found in submucous neurons of the small and large intestines. Immunoreactive nerve fibres were numerous in the myenteric ganglia, and were also common in the submucous ganglia and in the intestinal mucosa. Immunoreactive fibres were rare in the circular and longitudinal muscle coats. In the myenteric ganglia of the guinea-pig small intestine the immunoreactivity is restricted to one class of nerve cell bodies, type-II neurons of Dogiel, which display calcium action potentials in their cell bodies. These neurons were also immunoreactive with antibodies to spot 35 protein, a calcium-binding protein from the cerebellum. From the distribution of their terminals and the electrophysiological properties of these neurons it is suggested they might be sensory neurons, or perhaps interneurons. The discovery of CaBP in restricted sub-groups of enteric neurons may provide an important key for the analysis of their functions.
- Calcium-binding protein
- Enteric nervous system