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Distribution and chemical coding of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CART)-immunoreactive neurons in the guinea pig bowel

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Abstract.

Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript-immunoreactive (CART-IR) neurons and nerve fibers were abundant in the submucosal and myenteric plexuses of the guinea pig duodenum, ileum, cecum, proximal and distal colon. CART immunoreactivity was also observed in cell bodies and nerve fibers in the extrahepatic biliary tract. In the myenteric plexus, similar proportions (~20–25%) of neurons were CART-IR in all regions, with the exception of the cecum, where only 13% were CART-IR. In the submucosal plexus, CART-IR was detected in 35–50% of the neurons along the bowel with the exception of the proximal colon (~10%). Multiple label immunohistochemistry in the myenteric plexus of the ileum demonstrated that CART-IR neurons were also immunoreactive for choline acetyltransferase (83%), tachykinins (77%), calbindin (50%), nitric oxide synthase (20%), and/or vasoactive intestinal peptide (23%). In triple label studies, we found that ~8% of the CART-IR neurons were also immunoreactive for both choline acetyltransferase and nitric oxide synthase. CART immunoreactivity was not colocalized with calretinin, somatostatin, or serotonin. These results, combined with previous studies of chemical coding and projection patterns in the guinea pig ileum, indicate that at least four different classes of gut neurons in the myenteric plexus express CART peptide, including excitatory and inhibitory motor neurons projecting to the circular muscle, intrinsic primary afferent neurons, and a subset of descending interneurons. Because all CART-IR neurons in the submucosal plexus were also vasoactive intestinal peptide-IR, they are likely to include secretomotor/vasodilator neurons.

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Acknowledgements.

We are grateful to the CURE/UCLA/DDC Antibody/RIA Core Laboratory (DK41301) for the rabbit and mouse anti-VIP antisera. Also, we wish to thank Dr. David Linden for his assistance.

Author information

Correspondence to Gary M. Mawe.

Additional information

This work was supported by NIH grants NS26995, DK62267 and DK45410

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Ellis, L.M., Mawe, G.M. Distribution and chemical coding of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CART)-immunoreactive neurons in the guinea pig bowel. Cell Tissue Res 312, 265–274 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00441-002-0678-9

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Keywords

  • Autonomic nervous system
  • Innervation
  • Gut peptides
  • Enteric nervous system
  • Myenteric plexus
  • Submucosal plexus
  • Guinea pig