Distribution of NADPH-diaphorase-positive neurons in the enteric nervous system of the human colon

Ann Anat. 1994 Apr;176(2):137-41. doi: 10.1016/s0940-9602(11)80433-4.


Recent investigations have demonstrated the colonization of NOS-immunoreactivity and NADPH-diaphorase staining in central and peripheral neurons. The current study investigates the presence and distribution of NADPH-diaphorase-stained nerve cells and fibres in whole-mount preparations of the enteric nervous system of the human colon. Numerous NADPH-diaphorase-stained nerve cell bodies were found in the plexus myentericus and in the plexus submucosus externus. In contrast, we found but very few NADPH-diaphorase-stained nerve cells in the plexus submucosus internus. The majority of the NADPH-diaphorase-stained nerve cells had morphological characteristics similar to those of the Dogiel type I neuron, i.e. possessing broad flat dendrites and one major axonal projection. NADPH-diaphorase-stained nerve fibres can be observed in all three ganglionic networks and in the aganglionic plexus of the circular muscle layer.

MeSH terms

  • Colon / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Smooth / innervation
  • Myenteric Plexus / cytology
  • Myenteric Plexus / enzymology*
  • NADPH Dehydrogenase / analysis*
  • Nerve Fibers / enzymology
  • Nerve Fibers / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / enzymology*


  • NADPH Dehydrogenase