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Neuroscience. 1983 Mar;8(3):593-608.

Morphological studies of electrophysiologically-identified myenteric plexus neurons of the guinea-pig ileum.


The morphology of neurons in the myenteric plexus of the guinea-pig ileum has been studied by means of the intracellular application of Procion Yellow. Sixty-six electrophysiologically-unidentified cells showed a great variety of soma shapes and number of processes, the vast majority of the longer of which were circumferentially-orientated. The electrophysiological properties of an additional 47 neurons were ascertained; 29 were neurons with a slow after-hyperpolarization (AH-neurons), 14 showed fast excitatory synaptic potentials (S-neurons) and 4 were of neither category. Twenty-two of the AH-neurons had a smooth soma outline and, on average, each had 5 processes, of which the great majority of long processes were circumferentially-orientated and intraganglionic. The projection ratios of oral:circumferential:aboral processes were 6:61:9. Branching was a prominent feature of the processes. In contrast, a large soma with many broad, short processes was a feature of 8 of 14 S-neurons studied. The average number of processes was 8.6 per cell and relatively more of them were aborally-directed, giving projection ratios of 2:21:7. There was, however, such a variation and overlap in the morphology of AH- and S-neurons that it was not possible to achieve a simple, reliable classification. It is concluded that many neuronal processes may be intraganglionic and that longitudinal ones are mainly aboral. From the varied morphological characteristics of AH-neurons, it is unlikely that these neurons subserve a single function in the plexus. For the same reasons S-neurons may fulfil different physiological roles.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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