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Histochem Cell Biol. 2002 May;117(5):415-22. Epub 2002 Apr 26.

The distribution of purine P2X(2) receptors in the guinea-pig enteric nervous system.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.


The P2X(2) subtype of purine receptor was localised by immunohistochemistry to nerve cells of the myenteric ganglia of the stomach, small and large intestines of the guinea-pig, and nerve cells of submucosal ganglia in the intestine. Nerve cells with strong and with weak immunoreactivity could be distinguished. Immunoreactivity in both strongly and weakly immunoreactive neurons was absorbed with P2X(2) receptor peptide. In the myenteric plexus, strong immunoreactivity was in nitric oxide synthase (NOS)- and in calbindin-immunoreactive neurons. In all regions, over 90% of NOS-immunoreactive neurons were strongly P2X(2) receptor immunoreactive. The intensity of reaction varied in calbindin neurons; in the ileum, 90% were immunoreactive for the receptor, about one-third having a strong reaction. In the submucosal ganglia, all vasoactive intestinal peptide-immunoreactive neurons were P2X(2) receptor immunoreactive, but there was no receptor immunoreactivity of calretinin or neuropeptide Y neurons. Varicose nerve fibres with P2X(2) receptor immunoreactivity were found in the gastric myenteric ganglia. These fibres disappeared after vagus nerve section. It is concluded that the P2X(2) receptor is expressed by specific subtypes of enteric neurons, including inhibitory motor neurons, non-cholinergic secretomotor neurons and intrinsic primary afferent neurons, and that the receptor also occurs on the endings of vagal afferent fibres in the stomach.

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