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Cell Tissue Res. 1990 May;260(2):367-79.

Distinct distribution of CGRP-, enkephalin-, galanin-, neuromedin U-, neuropeptide Y-, somatostatin-, substance P-, VIP- and serotonin-containing neurons in the two submucosal ganglionic neural networks of the porcine small intestine.

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  • 1Institute of Histology and Microscopic Anatomy, University of Antwerp, Belgium.


In addition to differences between the two submucosal ganglionic neural networks, i.e., the plexus submucosus externus (Schabadasch) and the plexus submucosus internus (Meissner), with respect to the occurrence and distribution of serotonin as neurotransmitter, immunocytochemistry also revealed a distinct distribution for various neuropeptides in these two plexuses. Immunoreactivity for galanin, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, calcitonin gene-related peptide, substance P, neuromedin U, enkephalin, somatostatin and neuropeptide Y was found in varicose and non-varicose nerve fibres of both submucosal ganglionic plexuses, albeit with a distinct distributional pattern. The difference in neurotransmitter and/or neuromodulator content between both neural networks became even more obvious when attention was focussed on the immunoreactivity of the nerve cell bodies for these substances. Indeed, neuropeptide Y, enkephalin- and somatostatin-immunoreactive neuronal perikarya as well as serotonergic neuronal cell bodies appear solely in the plexus submucosus externus. Neuromedin U-immunoreactive perikarya, mostly coexisting with substance P, are observed in large numbers in the plexus submucosus internus, whilst they are rare in the plexus submucosus externus. Double-labelling immunostaining for substance P with CGRP and galanin revealed a different coexistence pattern for the two submucosal ganglionic plexuses. The differing chemical content of the neuronal populations supports the hypothesis that the existence of the two submucosal ganglionic plexuses, present in most large mammals including man, not only reflects a morphological difference but also points to differentiated functions.

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