Long aboral projections of Dogiel type II, AH neurons within the myenteric plexus of the guinea pig small intestine

S. J.H. Brookes, Z. M. Song, G. A. Ramsay, M. Costa

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    Enteric AH neurons, with multipolar Dogiel type II morphology, project around the circumference of the intestine to myenteric ganglia, the submucosa and mucosa. Using retrograde labeling in vitro, intracellular recording, dye filling and immunohistochemistry, the projections of these neurons along the intestine were studied. When the retrograde tracer, Dil, was applied to the myenteric plexus, labeled nerve cell bodies were located up to 111 mm orally but only 13 mm aborally, demonstrating a marked difference in the lengths of projections up and down the small intestine. Of labeled nerve cell bodies located 2-110 mm orally, 43% had Dogiel type II morphology and of these, 70% were immunoreactive for calbindin, a calcium binding protein exclusive to Dogiel type II neurons. Intracellular filling with neurobiotin revealed several long circumferentially directed nerve fibers and short, filamentous dendrites; thus these were 'dendritic' Dogiel type II neurons. This class accounts for approximately 3-4% of all myenteric neurons, and about 10% of all Dogiel type II neurons. Intracellular recordings revealed AH cell characteristics, with long afterhyperpolarizations following their action potentials, pronounced slow excitatory synaptic inputs and a lack of fast excitatory synaptic inputs. Antidromic action potentials could be evoked from the Dil application site in some cells, confirming their aboral projection. This is the first account of a major aboral projection of AH/Dogiel type II neurons and suggests an important role in aborally directed reflexes in the intestine.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4013-4022
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Neuroscience
    Issue number5 II
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


    • AH cells
    • calbindin
    • enteric nervous system
    • intestine
    • motility
    • myenteric plexus


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