, Volume 278, Issue 2, pp 379-387

Projections of 5-hydroxytryptamine-immunoreactive neurons in guinea-pig distal colon

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The presence of 5-hydroxytryptamine in enteric neurons of the guinea-pig distal colon was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry and the projections of the neurons were determined. 5-Hydroxytryptamine-containing nerve cells were observed in the myenteric plexus but no reactive nerve cells were found in submucous ganglia. Varicose reactive nerve fibres were numerous in the ganglia of both the myenteric and submucous plexuses, but were infrequent in the longitudinal muscle, circular muscle, muscularis mucosae and mucosa. Reactivity also occurred in enterochromaffin cells. Lesion studies showed that the axons of myenteric neurons projected anally to provide innervation to the circular muscle and submucosa and to other more anally located myenteric ganglia. The results suggest that a major population of 5-hydroxytryptamine neurons in the colon is descending interneurons, most of which extend for 10 to 15 mm in the myenteric plexus and innervate both 5-hydroxytryptamine and non-5-hydroxytryptamine neurons.