, Volume 122, Issue 5, pp 445-459

Intraganglionic laminar endings and their relationships with neuronal and glial structures of myenteric ganglia in the esophagus of rat and mouse

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Intraganglionic laminar endings (IGLEs) represent the only vagal mechanosensory terminals in the tunica muscularis of the esophagus and may be involved in local reflex control. We recently detected extensive though not complete colocalization of the vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGLUT2) with markers for IGLEs. To elucidate this colocalization mismatch, this study aimed at identifying markers for nitrergic, cholinergic, peptidergic, and adrenergic neurons and glial cells, which may colocalize with VGLUT2 outside of IGLEs. Confocal imaging revealed, besides substantial colocalization of VGLUT2 and substance P (SP), no other significant colocalizations of VGLUT2 and immunoreactivity for any of these markers within the same varicosities. However, we found close contacts of VGLUT2-positive structures to vesicular acetylcholine transporter, choline acetyltransferase, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, galanin, neuropeptide Y, and vasoactive intestinal peptide immunoreactive cell bodies and varicosities, as well as to glial cells. Neuronal perikarya were never positive for VGLUT2. Thus, VGLUT2 was almost exclusively found in IGLEs and may serve as a specific marker for them. In addition, many IGLEs also contained SP. The close contacts established by IGLEs to myenteric cell bodies, dendrites, and varicose fibers suggest that IGLEs modulate various types of enteric neurons and vice versa.