Projections of neurons with neuromedin U-like immunoreactivity in the small intestine of the guinea-pig

Cell Tissue Res. 1989 Aug;257(2):415-22. doi: 10.1007/BF00261844.


Neuromedin U immunoreactivity was located histochemically in the guinea-pig small intestine. Projections of immunoreactive neurons were determined by analysing patterns of degeneration following nerve lesions. The co-localization of neuromedin U immunoreactivity with immunoreactivity for substance P, neuropeptide Y, vasoactive intestinal peptide and calbindin was also investigated. Neuromedin U immunoreactivity was found in nerve cells in the myenteric and submucous plexuses and in nerve fibres in these ganglionated plexuses, around submucous arterioles and in the mucosa. Reactive fibres did not supply the muscle layers. Most reactive nerve cells in the myenteric ganglia had Dogiel type-II morphology and in many there was co-localization of calbindin, although some Dogiel type-II neuromedin U neurons were calbindin negative. Lesion studies suggest that these myenteric neurons project circumferentially to local myenteric ganglia. Projections from myenteric neurons also run anally in the myenteric plexus, while other projections extend to submucous ganglia, and still further projections run from the intestine to provide terminals in the coeliac ganglia. In the submucous ganglia neuromedin U was co-localized in three populations of nerve cells: (i) those with vasoactive intestinal peptide immunoreactivity, (ii) neurons containing neuropeptide Y, and (iii) neurons containing substance P. Each of these populations sends nerve fibres to the mucosa. Neuromedin U immunoreactivity is thus located in a variety of neurons serving different functions in the intestine and therefore probably does not have a single role in intestinal physiology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colchicine / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Ganglia, Sympathetic / analysis
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / analysis
  • Intestine, Small / analysis
  • Intestine, Small / drug effects
  • Intestine, Small / innervation*
  • Male
  • Muscle Denervation
  • Myenteric Plexus / analysis
  • Nerve Fibers / analysis
  • Neurons / analysis*
  • Neuropeptide Y / analysis
  • Neuropeptides / analysis*
  • Substance P / analysis
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / analysis


  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Neuropeptides
  • neuromedin U
  • Substance P
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Colchicine