In this study we sought to establish the distribution, projections and neurochemical coding of opioid immunoreactive neurons in secretomotor pathways of the guinea-pig ileum. Non-cholinergic secretomotor neurons in the submucous ganglia have been shown to be immunoreactive for dynorphin A 1-8, dynorphin A 1-17, dynorphin B and α neo-endorphin while cholinergic neurons have been shown to be immunoreactive for dynorphin A 1-8 only. Thus all submucous neurons in the guinea-pig ileum are immunoreactive for prodynorphin-derived peptides. Two major populations of opioid immunoreactive fibres projecting to the submucous ganglia have been established. Firstly, neurons immunoreactive for prodynorphin-derived peptides and vasoactive intestinal peptide project anally from the myenteric plexus to the submucous ganglia. Secondly, a substantial proportion of sympathetic postganglionic fibres immunoreactive for tyrosine hydroxylase, and projecting from the coeliac ganglion to submucous ganglia, have been shown to be immunoreactive for prodynorphin-derived peptides. Other smaller populations of opioid-immunoreactive neurons include fibres immunoreactive for substance P, enkephalin and dynorphin A 1-8 which project from the myenteric plexus to the non-ganglionated plexus of the submucosa. These fibres are probably excitatory motor neurons to the muscularis mucosae. The present paper has described several distinct populations of opioid immunoreactive neurons in secretomotor pathways of the guinea-pig ileum. Furthermore we have shown that these enteric or postganglionic sympathetic neurons contain opioid peptides in combination with other neurotransmitter substances. These results should provide a firmer basis on which to plan functional experiments to elucidate the physiological role of opioid peptides in the enteric nervous system.
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 1990|