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J Comp Neurol. 1991 Dec 15;314(3):437-51.

Ramifications of the axons of AH-neurons injected with the intracellular marker biocytin in the myenteric plexus of the guinea pig small intestine.

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Centre for Neuroscience, Flinders University, Bedford Park, Australia.


The projections and terminal ramifications of electrophysiologically characterized myenteric neurons of the guinea pig small intestine were studied after intracellular injection of the marker substance biocytin. Myenteric neurons were impaled with microelectrodes containing 4% biocytin in 2 M KCl (pH 7.4) and characterized electrophysiologically as either AH-neurons or S-neurons. AH-neurons were neurons in which action potentials were followed by prolonged after-hyperpolarizations (lasting greater than 4 seconds). S-neurons were neurons in which such hyperpolarizations were not seen. Electrical stimulation of internodal strands evoked prominent fast excitatory synaptic potentials in S-neurons, but not in AH-neurons. Biocytin was injected electrophoretically into the impaled AH-neurons by passage of hyperpolarizing current (0.6-0.8 nA for 5-15 minutes) through the recording electrode. The preparation was then fixed in Zamboni's fixative, dehydrated, and exposed to avidin coupled to horseradish peroxidase which allowed the injected biocytin to be visualised via a diaminobenzidine reaction. In many cases, the injected biocytin appeared to fill all the processes of injected AH-neurons that ramified within the myenteric plexus. The filled processes included axons running up to 4 mm within the plexus and profuse varicose terminals ramifying within both the ganglion containing the injected cell body and nearby ganglia. Most (90%) cell bodies of the injected AH-neurons had the morphology of Dogiel type II neurons; large, mostly smooth cell bodies with few short processes and several long processes. The other 10% of the AH-neurons had similar cell bodies and long processes but also had prominent short filamentous processes. This population was termed dendritic AH-neurons. The projections and terminals of 28 AH/Dogiel type II neurons and 7 dendritic AH-neurons were analysed in detail. Both types of neurons project circumferentially to provide terminals to nearby ganglia, but the AH/Dogiel type II neurons also provide terminals to their own ganglia while the dendritic AH-neurons typically do not. Although many of the injected AH-neurons had projections orally or anally along the intestine no evidence for a preferential direction of projection was obtained. Analysis of the areas and distributions of the terminal fields of the AH/Dogiel type II neurons suggests that each may contact several other myenteric neurons and that each myenteric neuron may receive input from about ten AH/Dogiel type II neurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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