Peptide-containing innervation of the human intestinal mucosa. An immunocytochemical study on whole-mount preparations

Histochemistry. 1982;76(3):413-20. doi: 10.1007/BF00543961.


The three-dimensional distribution of the peptide-containing innervation in the human intestinal mucosa was studied by fluorescence immunohistochemistry on whole-mount mucosal preparations. An extensive VIP-immunoreactive nerve supply was demonstrated at all levels, but was markedly increased in density in the distal intestine, where it formed a particularly rich network in close contact with the luminal epithelium. In contrast, substance P-containing nerve fibres formed a looser and evenly distributed innervation at all levels. The muscularis mucosae was richly supplied by VIP- and substance P-containing fibres. Met-enkephalin immunoreactivity was confined to a few scattered nerve bundles running in the muscularis mucosae and around the bottom of epithelial crypts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enkephalin, Methionine / analysis
  • Histocytochemistry / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunochemistry / methods
  • Intestinal Mucosa / analysis
  • Intestinal Mucosa / innervation*
  • Peptides / analysis*
  • Substance P / analysis
  • Swine / immunology
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / analysis


  • Peptides
  • Substance P
  • Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide
  • Enkephalin, Methionine