The distributions of peptide‐containing nerve fibers and cell bodies in the canine small intestine were determined with antibodies raised against seven peptides: enkephalin, gastrin‐releasing peptide (GRP), neuropeptide Y, neurotensin, somatostatin, substance P, and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP). Immunoreactive nerve cell bodies and fibers were found for each peptide except neurotensin. In the muscle layers there were numerous substance P, VIP, and enkephalin fibers, fewer neuropeptide Y fibers, and very few GRP or somatostatin fibers. The mucosa contained many VIP and substance P fibers, moderate numbers of neuropeptide Y, somatostatin, and GRP fibers and rare enkephalin fibers. Nerve cell bodies reactive for each of the six neural peptides were located in both the myenteric and submucous plexuses. The distributions of nerve cell bodies and processes in the canine small intestine show many similarities with other mammals, for example, in the distributions of VIP, substance P, neuropeptide Y, and somatostatin nerves. There are some major differences, such as the presence in dogs of numerous submucosal nerve cell bodies with enkephalinlike immunoreactivity and of GRP‐like immunoreactivity in submucous nerve cell bodies and mucosal fibers.
- enteric nervous system