Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications

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    Effects of oxaliplatin on mouse myenteric neurons and colonic motility
    Wafai, L ; Taher, M ; Jovanovska, V ; Bornstein, JC ; Dass, CR ; Nurgali, K (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2013-01-01)
    Oxaliplatin, an anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent used for the treatment of colorectal cancer, commonly causes gastrointestinal side-effects such as constipation, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. Damage to enteric neurons may underlie some of these gastrointestinal side-effects, as the enteric nervous system (ENS) controls functions of the bowel. In this study, neuronal loss and changes to the structure and immunoreactivity of myenteric neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) neurons were examined in colonic segments from mice following exposure to oxaliplatin ex vivo and following repeated intraperitoneal injections of oxaliplatin over 3 weeks in vivo, using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. Significant morphological alterations and increases in the proportion of NOS-immunoreactive (IR) neurons were associated with both short-term oxaliplatin exposure and long-term oxaliplatin administration, confirming that oxaliplatin causes changes to the myenteric neurons. Long-term oxaliplatin administration induced substantial neuronal loss that was correlated with a reduction in both the frequency and propagation speed of colonic migrating motor complexes (CMMCs) in vitro. Similar changes probably produce some symptoms experienced by patients undergoing oxaliplatin treatment.
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    Transmission to Interneurons Is via Slow Excitatory Synaptic Potentials Mediated by P2Y(1) Receptors during Descending Inhibition in Guinea-Pig Ileum
    Thornton, PDJ ; Gwynne, RM ; McMillan, DJ ; Bornstein, JC ; Weber, CR (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-02-07)
    BACKGROUND: The nature of synaptic transmission at functionally distinct synapses in intestinal reflex pathways has not been fully identified. In this study, we investigated whether transmission between interneurons in the descending inhibitory pathway is mediated by a purine acting at P2Y receptors to produce slow excitatory synaptic potentials (EPSPs). METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Myenteric neurons from guinea-pig ileum in vitro were impaled with intracellular microelectrodes. Responses to distension 15 mm oral to the recording site, in a separately perfused stimulation chamber and to electrical stimulation of local nerve trunks were recorded. A subset of neurons, previously identified as nitric oxide synthase immunoreactive descending interneurons, responded to both stimuli with slow EPSPs that were reversibly abolished by a high concentration of PPADS (30 μM, P2 receptor antagonist). When added to the central chamber of a three chambered organ bath, PPADS concentration-dependently depressed transmission through that chamber of descending inhibitory reflexes, measured as inhibitory junction potentials in the circular muscle of the anal chamber. Reflexes evoked by distension in the central chamber were unaffected. A similar depression of transmission was seen when the specific P2Y(1) receptor antagonist MRS 2179 (10 μM) was in the central chamber. Blocking either nicotinic receptors (hexamethonium 200 μM) or 5-HT(3) receptors (granisetron 1 μM) together with P2 receptors had no greater effect than blocking P2 receptors alone. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Slow EPSPs mediated by P2Y(1) receptors, play a primary role in transmission between descending interneurons of the inhibitory reflexes in the guinea-pig ileum. This is the first demonstration for a primary role of excitatory metabotropic receptors in physiological transmission at a functionally identified synapse.
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    The emergence of neural activity and its role in the development of the enteric nervous system
    Hao, MM ; Bornstein, JC ; Vanden Berghe, P ; Lomax, AE ; Young, HM ; Foong, JPP (ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2013-10-01)
    The enteric nervous system (ENS) is a vital part of the autonomic nervous system that regulates many gastrointestinal functions, including motility and secretion. All neurons and glia of the ENS arise from neural crest-derived cells that migrate into the gastrointestinal tract during embryonic development. It has been known for many years that a subpopulation of the enteric neural crest-derived cells expresses pan-neuronal markers at early stages of ENS development. Recent studies have demonstrated that some enteric neurons exhibit electrical activity from as early as E11.5 in the mouse, with further maturation of activity during embryonic and postnatal development. This article discusses the maturation of electrophysiological and morphological properties of enteric neurons, the formation of synapses and synaptic activity, and the influence of neural activity on ENS development.
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    Development of myenteric cholinergic neurons in ChAT-Cre;R26R-YFP Mice
    Hao, MM ; Bornstein, JC ; Young, HM (WILEY, 2013-10-01)
    Cholinergic neurons are the major excitatory neurons of the enteric nervous system (ENS), and include intrinsic sensory neurons, interneurons, and excitatory motor neurons. Cholinergic neurons have been detected in the embryonic ENS; however, the development of these neurons has been difficult to study as they are difficult to detect prior to birth using conventional immunohistochemistry. In this study we used ChAT-Cre;R26R-YFP mice to examine the development of cholinergic neurons in the gut of embryonic and postnatal mice. Cholinergic (YFP+) neurons were first detected at embryonic day (E)11.5, and the proportion of cholinergic neurons gradually increased during pre- and postnatal development. At birth, myenteric cholinergic neurons comprised less than half of their adult proportions in the small intestine (25% of myenteric neurons were YFP+ at P0 compared to 62% in adults). The earliest cholinergic neurons appear to mainly project anally. Projections into the presumptive circular muscle were first observed at E14.5. A subpopulation of cholinergic neurons coexpress calbindin through embryonic and postnatal development, but only a small proportion coexpressed neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Our study shows that cholinergic neurons in the ENS develop over a protracted period of time.