The ramifications of adrenergic nerve terminals in the rectum, anal sphincter and anal accessory muscles of the guinea-pig

  • J. B. Furness
  • M. Costa


The anatomy and the adrenergic innervation of the rectum, internal anal sphincter and of accessory structures are described for the guinea-pig. The distribution of adrenergic nerves was examined using the fluorescence histochemical technique applied to both sections and whole mount preparations. The longitudinal and circular muscle of the rectum and the muscularis mucosae are all supplied by adrenergic nerve terminals. The density of the adrenergic innervation of the muscularis externa increases towards the anal sphincter. There is a very dense innervation of the internal anal sphincter, of the anal accessory muscles and of the corrugator ani. Non-fluorescent neurons in the ganglia of the myenteric plexus are supplied by adrenergic terminals. The ganglia become smaller and sparser towards the internal anal sphincter and non-ganglionated nerve strands containing adrenergic axons run from the plexus to the sphincter muscle. Adrenergic fibers innervate two interconnected ganglionated plexuses in the submucosa. Very few adrenergic nerve cells were found in the myenteric plexus and they were not found at all in the submucosa. The extrinsic arteries and veins of the pelvic region are heavily innervated by adrenergic nerves. Within the gut wall the arteries are densely innervated but there is little or no innervation of the veins.

Key words

Autonomic nervous system Gastrointestinal tract Adrenergic nerves Anal sphincter 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. B. Furness
    • 1
  • M. Costa
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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