Identification of intestinofugal neurons projecting to the coeliac and superior mesenteric ganglia in the rat

Auton Neurosci. 2000 Sep 1;83(1-2):81-5. doi: 10.1016/S0165-1838(00)00159-4.


Intestinofugal neurons are parts of the afferent limbs of inhibitory intestino-intestinal reflexes. These neurons have been mapped in guinea-pigs, where they have a gradient of increasing frequency of occurrence from oral to anal, but not in other species. In the present work in the rat, a species that is more amenable to physiological study than the guinea-pig, we have used retrograde tracing to map the distribution of the cell bodies of intestinofugal neurons projecting to the coeliac-superior mesenteric ganglion complex. Labelled nerve cells were found in the myenteric, but not the submucosal plexus. They were mono-axonal neurons, most with Dogiel type I morphology, and were immunoreactive for choline acetyltransferase, implying that they are cholinergic, which is consistent with functional studies. The cells increased in number per unit area from the stomach, through the small intestine, to the caecum. The results are consistent with physiological studies that reveal distal to proximal inhibitory reflexes that are more potent from distal compared to proximal sites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / cytology*
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Amidines
  • Animals
  • Cell Size / physiology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Ganglia, Sympathetic / cytology*
  • Ganglia, Sympathetic / physiology
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior / innervation*
  • Myenteric Plexus / cytology*
  • Myenteric Plexus / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Submucous Plexus / cytology*
  • Submucous Plexus / physiology


  • Amidines
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • diamidino compound 253-50