Characterization of circular muscle motor neurons of the duodenum and distal colon in the Australian brush-tailed possum
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The motor innervation of the duodenum and distal colon remains uncharacterized within the same species. Our aim was to compare the projections and neurochemical properties of duodenal and distal colon circular muscle motor neurons. Circular muscle motor neurons were retrogradely traced by using a neural tracer in vitro, processed for choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) immunoreactivity and then visualized by using indirect immunofluorescence. A mean of 372 +/- 64 and 156 +/- 23 neurons (mean +/- SEM) were tracer-labeled within the duodenum and colon, respectively. The ChAT+/NOS- neurons comprised 57.6 +/- 6.6% and 39.6 +/- 4.4% of all labeled cells in the duodenum and colon, respectively, and projected mainly in the oral direction. Of all labeled cells, the ChAT-/NOS+ neurons comprised 8.5 +/- 2.3% in the duodenum and 46.6 +/- 5.0% in the distal colon and projected mainly in the anal direction. Of the remainder, 20.6 +/- 5.0% and 8.2 +/- 2.4% were ChAT+/NOS+ and 13.2 +/- 0.9% and 5.6 +/- 1.4% were ChAT-/NOS- in the duodenum and distal colon, respectively. Within both regions, the distribution of the ChAT+/NOS- and ChAT-/NOS+ neurons are consistent with the ascending excitatory and descending inhibitory reflexes. The proportion of ChAT-/NOS+ neurons is greater within the colon in comparison with the duodenum. A considerable proportion of duodenal motor neurons were ChAT+/NOS+ and ChAT-/NOS-. These two classes may underlie nonperistaltic motor patterns, which predominate within the duodenum. These findings demonstrate regional differences in the innervation of intestinal circular muscle.
Journal of Comparative Neurology