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Light and electron microscopic studies of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) – immunoreactive neurons in the enteric nervous system of rat small and large intestine

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Abstract

 Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP)-immunoreactive (IR) neurons in the myenteric and submucosal plexus of the rat small and large intestine were examined by immunostaining with purified polyclonal antiserum against PACAP (1–15), using both light and electron microscopy. Many PACAP-IR neuronal cell bodies and fibers were found in the myenteric and submucosal plexus. Many of the PACAP-IR fibers originated from the cell bodies of the myenteric and submucosal ganglia. The ganglia were also innervated by PACAP-IR fibers. PACAP-IR fibers penetrated both the circular and longitudinal muscle layers, confirming the previous observations indicating that PACAP neurons act as motor neurons. Ultrastructural study demonstrated that PACAP-IR nerve terminals formed synaptic contacts with PACAP-IR nerve cell bodies or dendritic processes. This observation suggests that PACAP-IR neurons innervate other PACAP-IR neurons, and that PACAP neurons work as interneurons in the enteric nervous system. PACAP-IR nerve cells received not only PACAP-positive nerve terminal input also PACAP-negative nerve terminal input. It also suggests that PACAP neurons are regulated not only by PACAP-IR enteric neurons, but also by neurons originating elsewhere. Our observations support the view that PACAP-IR neurons are involved in the control of gut motility.

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Accepted: 20 April 1998

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Nagahama, M., Tsuzuki, M., Mochizuki, T. et al. Light and electron microscopic studies of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) – immunoreactive neurons in the enteric nervous system of rat small and large intestine. Anat Embryol 198, 341–352 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004290050189

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  • Key words Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP)
  • Small intestine
  • Large intestine
  • Enteric nervous system
  • Rat
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Synapse