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Auton Neurosci. 2005 Oct 30;122(1-2):1-8. Epub 2005 Sep 23.

Proteome analysis of isolated myenteric plexus reveals significant changes in protein expression during postnatal development.

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University of Heidelberg, Clinical Faculty Mannheim, Department of Paediatric Surgery, Mannheim, Germany.


The enteric nervous system in vertebrates is the most complex part of the peripheral nervous system. Concerning chemical coding, ultrastructure and neuronal circuits, it is more similar to the central than to the peripheral nervous system. Its networks, the myenteric and submucous plexus are integrated in the gut wall. The enteric nervous system is a system of high plasticity, which not only changes during pre- and postnatal development, but also with disease or changing dietary habits. The Aim of this study was to elucidate changes in protein expression during the first two postnatal weeks in the rat myenteric plexus. Colonic and duodenal myenteric plexus from newborn (P1) and fourteen-day old (P14) Sprague-Dawley rats was isolated following a procedure that combines enzymatic digestion and mechanical agitation. The neuronal tissue was collected and processed for two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE). The obtained 2-D gels were stained with silver for image analysis or with colloidal Coomassie for subsequent protein identification. Gels from the various samples showed a high degree of consistence concerning protein-spots found in all preparations. Nevertheless, there was a number of proteins that were clearly detected in one sample but not, or only in significantly smaller amounts in the other. Several differentially expressed proteins in the postnatal myenteric plexus were identified with MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Especially stathmin, polyubiquitin and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein seem to play an important role in pre- and postnatal development. 2-DE combined with mass spectrometry can help to identify pathological relevant proteins in the enteric nervous system, and so deliver a valuable tool for the early diagnosis of also central nervous system diseases by using biopsies from the gut.

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