Mechanosensitivity in the myenteric plexus of the guinea pig ileum

Mazzuoli, Gemma (2009) Mechanosensitivity in the myenteric plexus of the guinea pig ileum , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Applicazioni biotecnologiche in neuromorfofisiologia, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/2029.
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The enteric nervous system regulates autonomously from the central nervous system all the reflex pathways that control blood flow, motility, water and electrolyte transport and acid secretion. The ability of the gut to function in isolation is one of the most intriguing phenomenons in neurogastroenterology. This requires coding of sensory stimuli by cells in the gut wall. Enteric neurons are prominent candidates to relay mechanosensitivity. Surprisingly, the identity of mechanosensitive neurons in the enteric nervous system as well as the appropriate stimulus modality is unknown despite the evidence that enteric neurons respond to sustained distension. Objectives: The aim of our study was to record from mechanosensitive neurons using physiological stimulus modalities. Identification of sensory neurons is of central importance to understand sensory transmission under normal conditions and in gut diseases associated with sensorimotor dysfunctions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Only then it will be possible to identify novel targets that help to normalise sensory functions. Methods: We used guinea-pig ileum myenteric plexus preparations and recorded responses of all neurons in a given ganglion with a fast neuroimaging technique based on voltage sensitive dyes. To evoke a mechanical response we used two different kinds of stimuli: firstly we applied a local mechanical distortion of the ganglion surface with von Frey hair. Secondarily we mimic the ganglia deformation during physiological movements of myenteric ganglia in a freely contracting ileal preparation. We were able to reliably and reproducibly mimic this distortion by intraganglionic injections of small volumes of oxygenated and buffered Krebs solution using stimulus parameters that correspond to single contractions. We also performed in every ganglion tested, electrical stimulations to evoke fast excitatory postsynaptic potentials. Immunohistochemistry reactions were done with antibodies against Calbindin and NeuN, considered markers for sensory neurons. Results: Recordings were performed in 46 ganglia from 31 guinea pigs. In every ganglion tested we found from 1 to 21 (from 3% to 62%) responding cells with a median value of 7 (24% of the total number of neurons). The response consisted of an almost instantaneous spike discharge that showed adaptation. The median value of the action potential frequency in the responding neurons was 2.0 Hz, with a recording time of 1255 ms. The spike discharge lasted for 302 ± 231 ms and occurred only during the initial deformation phase. During sustained deformation no spike discharge was observed. The response was reproducible and was a direct activation of the enteric neurons since it remained after synaptic blockade with hexamethonium or ω-conotoxin and after long time perfusion with capsaicin. Muscle tone appears not to be required for activation of mechanosensory neurons. Mechanosensory neurons showed a response to mechanical stimulation related to the stimulus strength. All mechanosensory neurons received fast synaptic inputs. There was no correlation between mechanosensitivity and Calbindin-IR and NeuN-IR (44% of mechanosensitive neurones Calb-IR-/NeuN-IR-). Conclusions: We identified mechanosensitive neurons in the myenteric plexus of the guinea pig ileum which responded to brief deformation. These cells appear to be rapidly accommodating neurons which respond to dynamic change. All mechanosensitive neurons received fast synaptic input suggesting that their activity can be highly modulated by other neurons and hence there is a low stimulus fidelity which allows adjusting the gain in a sensory network. Mechanosensitivity appears to be a common feature of many enteric neurons belonging to different functional classes. This supports the existence of multifunctional enteric neurons which may fulfil sensory, integrative and motor functions.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Mazzuoli, Gemma
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze veterinarie
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
2 Aprile 2009

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