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Gastroenterology. 1980 Mar;78(3):492-7.

Evidence for vagal enkephalinergic neural control of the feline pylorus and stomach.


The atropine- and guanethidine-resistant contraction of the cat pyloric sphincter induced by efferent stimulation of the cervical vagi, was studied with a new method for measuring transpyloric flow. The pyloric contraction was blocked in a dose-dependent manner by the opiate antagonist naloxone infused intraarterially to the pyloric region. Local intraarterial injection of morphine or enkephalinamide elicited a pyloric and gastric contraction. Leu- and met-enkephalin intraarterially elicited a pyloric contraction and a gastric relaxation. These effects could be prevented or reversed by naloxone. Immunohistochemical studies revealed a particularly rich enkephalinergic innervation of the pylorus with dense networks of varicose nerve fibers with enkephalin-like immunoreactivity both in the circular smooth muscle layer and in the myenteric plexus. Furthermore, many cell bodies of the myenteric plexus with enkephalin-like material were demonstrated. The corpus-antrum was sparsely innervated by enkephalin-like nerves to the circular muscle layer and only few immunoreactive cell bodies were observed in the myenteric plexus. These results together suggest a vagal control of the feline pylorus and stomach mediated via enkephalinergic neurons.

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