Neurochemical coding of enteric neurons in the guinea pig stomach



The aim of this study was to investigate the neurochemical coding of myenteric neurons in the guinea pig gastric corpus by using immunohistochemical methods. Antibodies and antisera against calbindin (CALB), calretinin (CALRET), choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), β-endorphin (ENK), neuropeptide Y (NPY), neuron-specific enolase (NSE), nitric oxide synthase (NOS), protein gene product 9.5 (PGP), parvalbumin (PARV), serotonin (5-HT), somatostatin (SOM), substance P (SP), tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) were used. Double- and triple-labeling studies revealed colocalization of certain transmitters and enabled the identification of distinct subpopulations of gastric enteric neurons. NPY/VIP/NOS/ENK were present in 28% of all neurons, whereas 11% had NPY/VIP / DBH / ChAT; NOS-only neurons made up 2% of the population. The combination SP/ChAT/ENK occurred in 21% of the population, whereas SP/ChAT/ENK/CALRET and SP/CHAT/SOM/ ± CALRET was identified in 5% and 6% of all cells, respectively. 5-HT-containing neurons comprised 2% of all cells and could be further classified by the presence of additional antigens as 5-HT/SP/(ChAT) or 5-HT/VIP/(ChAT). Approximately 21% of all neurons contained only ChAT with no additional antigen present and are referred to as ChAT/–. Gastric myenteric ganglion cells were not immunoreactive for CALB, PARV, CGRP, or TH. The results of this study indicate that gastric myenteric neurons can be characterized on the basis of different chemical coding. Neurochemical coding of corpus myenteric neurons revealed some similarities and significant differences in comparison with other regions of the gut. These differences might reflect adaptation of enteric nerves according to regional specialization and the distinct functions of the proximal stomach as a gastric reservoir. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.