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Neuroscience. 1997 Oct;80(3):907-23.

Characterization of myenteric interneurons with somatostatin immunoreactivity in the guinea-pig small intestine.

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Department of Human Physiology and Centre for Neuroscience, The Flinders University of South Australia, Adelaide.


The projections, connections, morphology and electrophysiological features of the myenteric interneurons with somatostatin immunoreactivity in the guinea-pig small intestine have been established using retrograde tracing, immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy and intracellular recording. After application of the fluorescent dye, 1,1'-didodecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethyl indocarbocyanine perchlorate (DiI), to the myenteric plexus, up to 900 nerve cell bodies were labelled in each preparation. Somatostatin-immunoreactive neurons accounted for 13% of all retrogradely labelled cells and were located up to 70 mm orally. When DiI was applied to the submucous ganglia, many myenteric neurons were labelled and 8% of all retrogradely labelled cells were somatostatin immunoreactive and were located up to 60 mm oral to the DiI application sites. These neurons had ovoid cell bodies, a single axon, several long filamentous dendrites and received close contacts from 40-200 somatostatin-immunoreactive varicosities. Intracellular recordings revealed that these cells had features of both S (i.e. with Synaptic inputs) and AH (i.e. neurons with After Hyperpolarization) cells, receiving fast excitatory synaptic inputs, having characteristic "sag" in their response to hyperpolarizing current pulses and sometimes a long afterhyperpolarization following soma action potentials. It is concluded that somatostatin-immunoreactive neurons have distinct electrophysiological features and form very long anally directed interneuronal chains that connect with both myenteric and submucous neurons.

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