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Neuroscience. 1996 Aug;73(4):1017-28.

Electrophysiological mapping of fast excitatory synaptic inputs to morphologically and chemically characterized myenteric neurons of guinea-pig small intestine.

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Department of Physiology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Vic, Australia.


Neurons within the myenteric plexus of the guinea-pig ileum were impaled using conventional intracellular electrodes. Points of stimulation within the surrounding ganglia and connectives which gave rise to fast excitatory synaptic potentials were mapped using a movable monopolar stimulating electrode. Cells were then injected with the intracellular marker, biocytin, and processed for multiple label immunohistochemistry to reveal their morphologies, chemical contents and, hence, their functional classes. Of 65 neurons belonging to the S electrophysiological class, 53 received fast excitatory synaptic inputs from stimulation at sites at least 2 mm away in a directly circumferential direction. These inputs almost certainly arise from stimulation of the circumferentially-directed axons of the Dogiel type II/AH-neurons, which are thought to be intrinsic sensory neurons. The majority of cells which projected anally and were immunoreactive for nitric oxide synthase (19/25), all neurons which ramified in the tertiary plexus and were identified as longitudinal muscle motor neurons (6/6) and all neurons identified as excitatory motor neurons innervating the circular muscle (12/12) received inputs from these circumferentially-directed pathways. However only one of six descending filamentous interneurons impaled received such inputs, suggesting they may be differentially innervated. The conduction velocities of circumferentially-directed axons giving rise to fast excitatory post synaptic potentials were estimated to be 0.41 +/- 0.10 m/s (mean +/- standard deviation, n = 21). The conduction velocities estimated for longitudinally-directed pathways were 0.55 +/- 0.25 m/s (n = 29). Thus, the majority of myenteric neurons receive fast excitatory synaptic input from putative intrinsic sensory neurons which project circumferentially around the intestine.

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