Projections of specific morphological types of neurons within the myenteric plexus of the small intestine of the guinea-pig

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    The projections of myenteric neurons within the myenteric plexus of the guinea-pig small intestine were established using retrograde tracing in organotypic culture. Three days after applying the fluorescent dye DiI to a single internodal strand in the myenteric plexus, 500-1000 nerve cell bodies were labelled. Of these, 77% were located oral to the application site, 15% were located anally and 7% were located within 1 mm of this site. Three major morphological types of neurons could be distinguished. Dogiel type I neurons had lamellar dendrites and single axons, Dogiel type II neurons had large smooth cell bodies and several long processes, and filamentous neurons had smooth ovoid cell bodies, single axons and several filamentous dendrites. Dogiel type I, II and filamentous neurons accounted for 54.6%, 38% and 7.4% of all filled cells, respectively. Labelled nerve cell bodies were present up to 13 mm aboral to the DiI application site; all neurons more than 2 mm aboral had Dogiel type I features. On the oral side, Dogiel type I neurons were found up to 110 mm, Dogiel type II neurons up to 100 mm and filamentous neurons up to 80 mm. Neurons with 2 mm oral or aboral to the DiI application site were located up to 7 mm circumferentially and were mainly Dogiel type II cells. This work revealed remarkable polarity within the myenteric plexus, with a significant prevalence of myenteric neurons projecting anally for longer distances than those projecting orally. These long pathways are probably involved in the coordination of intestinal motility.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)149-156
    Number of pages8
    JournalCell and Tissue Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 1996


    • Guinea-pig
    • Intestine, small
    • Myenteric plexus
    • Organotypic culture
    • Retrograde transport


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