Little is known regarding the location of cholinergic muscarinic receptor 1 (M1r) in the ENS, even though physiological data suggest that M1rs are central to cholinergic neurotransmission. This study localised M1rs in the ENS of the guinea pig ileum and human colon using fluorescence immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR in human colon. Double labelling using antibodies against neurochemical markers was used to identify neuron subytpes bearing M1r. M1r immunoreactivity (IR) was present on neurons in the myenteric and submucosal ganglia. The two antibodies gave similar M1r-IR patterns and M1r-IR was abolished upon antibody preabsorption. M1r-IR was present on cholinergic and nNOS-IR nerve cell bodies in both guinea pig and human myenteric neurons. Presynaptic M1r-IR was present on NOS-IR and VAChT-IR nerve fibres in the circular muscle in the human colon. In the submucosal ganglia, M1r-IR was present on a population of neurons that contained cChAT-IR, but did not contain NPY-IR or calretinin-IR. M1r-IR was present on endothelial cells of blood vessels in the submucosal plexus. The localisation of M1r-IR in the guinea pig and human ENS shown in this study agrees with physiological studies. M1r-IR in cholinergic and nitrergic neurons and nerve fibres indicate that M1rs have a role in both cholinergic and nitrergic transmission. M1r-IR present in submucosal neurons suggests a role in mediating acetylcholine's effect on submucosal sensory and secretomotor/vasodilator neurons. M1r-IR present on blood vessel endothelial cells suggests that M1rs may also mediate acetylcholine's direct effect on vasoactivation.
- Enteric nervous system
- Muscarinic receptors