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Neuroscience. 2003;116(4):1033-41.

Neuronal location of 5-hydroxytryptamine3 receptor-like immunoreactivity in the rat colon.

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Laboratoire Intégration des Informations Sensorielles, CNRS, Bâtiment LNB (N'), 31 Chemin Joseph Aiguier, 13402, Marseille, Cedex, France.


The presence of 5-hydroxytryptamine(3) receptors on enteric neurons is known from pharmacological data that date back more than 40 years. However, an adequate account of which neurons bear these receptors has not been made because suitable antisera have not been available. We have found that the majority of antisera that have been raised against sequences from the 5-hydroxytryptamine(3) receptor also recognize pre-prosomatostatin. We report that this source of false labeling can be eliminated by pre-incubating the antisera with a peptide designed for this purpose. We have used the pre-absorbed antiserum to localize 5-hydroxytryptamine(3) receptors in the rat colon. Immunoreactive nerve cell bodies occurred in the myenteric and submucosal ganglia. The majority had smooth cell bodies and long, smooth processes, that is, Dogiel type II morphology. The initial segments of the long processes of the Dogiel type II neurons were strongly immunoreactive. About 12% of immunoreactive myenteric nerve cells were of the same or smaller size, and had multiple short filamentous processes. Some of the immunoreactive Dogiel type II neurons were also immunoreactive for calretinin in both plexuses, and the majority were immunoreactive for calbindin in submucosal ganglia. Specific immunoreactivity occurred in non-varicose, but not in varicose, fibers in the myenteric and submucosal ganglia, and in fiber bundles that traversed the longitudinal and circular muscle layers. Immunoreactive varicose fibers were observed only in the mucosa. It is concluded that 5-hydroxytryptamine(3) receptors occur on intrinsic sensory neurons in the rat colon, and on extrinsic sensory nerve fibers that innervate the colon.

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