American Journal of Physiology. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology vol:284 issue:6 pages:G1084-92
The myenteric plexus plays a key role in the control of gastrointestinal motility. We used confocal calcium imaging to study responses to electrical train stimulation (ETS) of interganglionic fiber tracts in entire myenteric ganglia of the guinea pig small intestine. ETS induced calcium transients in a subset of neurons: 52.2% responded to oral ETS, 65.4% to aboral ETS, and 71.7% to simultaneous oral and aboral ETS. A total of 41.3% of the neurons displayed convergence of oral and aboral ETS-induced responses. Responses could be reversibly blocked with TTX (10(-)6 M), demonstrating involvement of neuronal conduction, and by removal of extracellular calcium. omega-Conotoxin (5 x 10(-7) M) blocked the majority of responses and reduced the amplitude of residual responses by 45%, indicating the involvement of N-type calcium channels. Staining for calbindin and calretinin did not reveal different response patterns in these immunohistochemically identified neurons. We conclude that, at least for ETS close to a ganglion, confocal calcium imaging reveals complex oral and aboral input to individual myenteric neurons rather than a polarization in spread of activity.