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J Anat. 1997 Feb;190 ( Pt 2):209-22.

Projections of chemically identified myenteric neurons of the small and large intestine of the mouse.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Melbourne, Australia.


The projections of different subpopulations of myenteric neurons in the mouse small and large intestine were examined by combining immunohistological techniques with myotomy and myectomy operations. The myotomies were used to examine the polarity of neurons projecting within the myenteric plexus and showed that neurons containing immunoreactivity for nitric oxide synthase (NOS), vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), calbindin and 5-HT projected anally, while neurons with substance P (SP)-immunoreactivity projected orally, in both the small and large intestine. Neurons containing neuropeptide Y (NPY)- and calretinin-immunoreactivity projected locally. In the large intestine, GABA-immunoreactive neurons projected both orally and anally, with more axons tending to project anally. Myectomy operations revealed that circular muscle motor neurons containing NOS/VIP/ +/-NPY and calretinin neurons projected anally both in the small and large intestine, while SP-immunoreactive circular muscle motor neurons projected orally. In the large intestine, GABA-IR circular muscle motor neurons projected both orally and anally. This study showed that although some neurons, such as the NOS/VP inhibitory motor neurons and interneurons, SP excitatory motor neurons and 5-HT interneurons had similar projections to those in other species, the projections of other chemical classes of neurons in the mouse intestine differed from those reported in other species.

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