• enteric nervous system;
  • intracellular recording;
  • N-(2-aminoethyl) biotinamide;
  • camera lucida;
  • calbindin


The morphological and physiological characteristics of myenteric neurons in the guinea pig distal colon were determined using Lucifer yellow- or N-(2-aminoethyl) biotinamide-containing microelectrodes and intracellular recording and staining methods. The neurons in this study (n = 204) were classified on the basis of the shapes of their cell bodies and short processes or dendrites and the number of long processes or axons as Dogiel type I (n = 75 neurons; 36.8%), filamentous (n = 31 neurons; 15.2%), Dogiel type II (n = 38 neurons; 18.6%), and unclassified (n = 60 neurons; 29.4%). All Dogiel type II neurons had action potentials followed by an after-spike hyperpolarization (AH), and most of them (84%) had large, smooth somata and filamentous, short processes in addition to multiple, long processes or axons. Most of Dogiel type I, filamentous, and unclassified neurons (98%) had a single, long process, but four Dogiel type I neurons and one unclassified neuron had two long processes terminating as varicosities within other ganglia or on the surface of longitudinal muscle. The projections of monoaxonal neurons were distributed equally between oral and aboral directions, and most of them received fast excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs). All of the Dogiel type II neurons and seven Dogiel type I neurons were positive for calbindin immunoreactivity, but three filamentous neurons received fEPSPs, had spikes followed by AH, and were negative for calbindin. The presence of calbindin-immunoreactive(-IR) neurons was quite variable among the ganglia. These results confirm that neither the presence of calbindin immunoreactivity nor the absence of fEPSPs can be used as a predictor of cellular morphology or electrophysiological properties of myenteric neurons in the distal colon. J. Comp. Neurol. 437:423–437, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.