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Distribution of intrinsic nerve cell bodies and axons which take up aromatic amines and their precursors in the small intestine of the guinea-pig


The sites of uptake, decarboxylation and retention of 1-dopa and the uptake and retention of dopamine and 6-hydroxytryptamine in the small intestine of the guinea-pig have been localised histochemically with a fluorescence technique for arylethylamines. In segments of ileum from untreated guinea-pigs only noradrenergic axons are fluorescent; these axons were eliminated by surgical denervation (crushing nerves running to the intestine through the mesentery) or by chemical denervation with 6-hydroxydopamine. In denervated segments of ileum, cell bodies and processes of intrinsic neurons become fluorescent after the injection of 1-dopa, dopamine or 6-hydroxytryptamine and the inhibition of monoamine oxidase, as do cells of Brunner's glands and Paneth cells. About 11% of the nerve cell bodies in the submucous plexus and 0.4% of those in the myenteric plexus become fluorescent. Varicose intrinsic axons which take up amines are found amongst the nerve cell bodies of the myenteric and submucous plexuses. They also ramify in the principal connections of the plexuses, in the tertiary strands of the myenteric plexus, in the deep muscular plexus and contribute sparse supplies of axons to arterioles in the submucosa and to the lamina propria of the mucosa. The axons are resistant to the degenerative actions of 6-hydroxydopamine.

It is suggested that the intrinsic amine handling axons are more likely to utilise an indolamine related to 5-hydroxytryptamine than they are to utilise a catecholamine as a neurotransmitter.

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Correspondence to Dr. J. B. Furness.

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Furness, J.B., Costa, M. Distribution of intrinsic nerve cell bodies and axons which take up aromatic amines and their precursors in the small intestine of the guinea-pig. Cell Tissue Res. 188, 527–543 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00219790

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Key words

  • Small intestine (Guinea-pig)
  • Intrinsic neurons
  • Uptake of aromatic amines
  • Denervation
  • Fluorescence microscopy