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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 1994 Jun;6(2):103-18.

Myenteric ganglia from the adult guinea-pig small-intestine in tissue-culture.

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Laboratory of Experimental Surgery, Hadassah University Hospital, Mt Scopus, Jerusalem, Israel.


Myenteric ganglia dissociated from the small intestine of adult guinea-pigs survived in long-term culture (1-2 months) and progressed to structural organization resembling the myenteric plexus in situ. Developmental changes were similar to cultures derived from neonatal intestine. After one week, the neurons gathered into clusters on a glial cell carpet. Processes from the neurons branched and ramified over the glial substrate. As the cultures matured, the processes joined into tracts and the neurons and glia formed compact aggregates reminiscent of ganglia interconnected by fibre bundles. Injection of dye revealed characteristic Dogiel I and II neuronal morphology. Electrical recording identified electrical and synaptic behaviour comparable to intact myenteric plexus, longitudinal muscle preparations, except slow synaptic excitation was absent. Pharmacological responses to forskolin and 5-hydroxytryptamine were essentially the same as in freshly dissected preparations. Lucifer yellow injected into single glial cells spread to a broad population indicative of the dye coupling found among glia in the myenteric plexus in situ. The results suggest that adult myenteric ganglia in culture are a useful model for investigation of aspects of enteric neurobiology including: (a) formation of connections in microcircuits; (b) cellular neurophysiology of enteric neurons; (c) neuropharmacology; and (4) cell biology of neuronal-glial interactions in the myenteric plexus.

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