Projections of submucous neurons to the myenteric plexus in the guinea pig small intestine

Zan Min Song, Marcello Costa, Simon J.H. Brookes

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    The distribution of submucous neurons that project to the myenteric plexus of the guinea pig small intestine was established by retrograde transport of the carbocyanine dye 1,1'-didodecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethyl indocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI) from myenteric ganglia in organ culture in combination with immunohistochemistry. Following the application of DiI to the serosal surface of a single myenteric ganglion, from 2 to 15 DiI- labelled nerve cell bodies were labelled in the submucous plexus up to 7.9 mm circumferentially, 4.5 mm orally, and 3.4 mm aborally to the DiI application site. No cells were labelled in preparations in which connections between myenteric and submucous plexuses had been severed prior to DiI application. Cells that were immunoreactive for vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) or for substance P (SP) accounted or about 75% and 11% of DiI-labelled cells, respectively. Neither neuropeptide Y- nor calretinin-immunoreactive submucous neurons were labelled by DiI, indicating that these classes of neurons do not project to the myenteric plexus. Retrograde tracing from the myenteric plexus with Neurobiotin revealed that labelled VIP-immunoreactive neurons had several short, filamentous processes and a single long axon that could be followed through the circular muscle to myenteric ganglia without branches to the mucosa. The previously described projection of submucous, SP- immunoreactive putative sensory neurons to the myenteric plexus was confirmed. However, this study has identified a considerably larger population of presumed interneurons that are immunoreactive for VIP that likely transmit information from the submucous plexus to the myenteric plexus and presumably coordinate activity between the two ganglionated plexuses.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)255-268
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 1998


    • 1,1'- didodecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethyl indocarbocyanine perchlorate
    • Interneuron
    • Neurobiotin
    • Organ culture
    • Retrograde tracing


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