Single- and double-immunostaining techniques were used systematically to study the distribution pattern and neurochemical density of oxytocin-immunoreactive (-ir) neurons in the digestive tract of the guinea pig. Oxytocin immunoreactivity was distributed widely in the guinea pig gastrointestinal tract; 3%, 13%, 17%, 15%, and 10% of ganglion neurons were immunoreactive for oxytocin in the myenteric plexuses of the gastric corpus, jejunum, ileum, proximal colon, and distal colon, respectively, and 36%, 40%, 52%, and 56% of ganglion neurons were immunoreactive for oxytocin in the submucosal plexuses of the jejunum, ileum, proximal colon, and distal colon, respectively. In the myenteric plexus, oxytocin was expressed exclusively in the intrinsic enteric afferent neurons, as identified by calbindin 28 K. In the submucosal plexuses, oxytocin was expressed in non-cholinergic secretomotor neurons, as identified by vasoactive intestinal polypeptide. Oxytocin-ir nerve fibers in the inner circular muscle layer possibly arose from the myenteric oxytocin-ir neurons, and oxytocin-ir nerve fibers in the mucosa possibly arose from both the myenteric and submucosal oxytocin-ir neurons. Thus, oxytocin in the digestive tract might be involved in gastrointestinal tract motility mainly via the regulation of the inner circular muscle and the balance of the absorption and secretion of water and electrolytes.
Oxytocin Immunohistochemistry Double-immunostaining Enteric nervous system Guinea pig
1.Department of Neurobiology, MOE Key Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, Ministry of Education, Neuroscience Research Center of Changzheng HospitalSecond Military Medical UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China
2.Autonomic Neuroscience CentreUniversity College Medical SchoolLondonUK
3.Department of Anesthesiology, Neuroscience Research Center of Changzheng HospitalSecond Military Medical UniversityShanghaiPeople’s Republic of China