The distribution and co-localization of nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) were examined by means of immunohistochemistry and NADPH diaphorase (NADPH-d) histochemistry in the gut of patients with Hirschsprung's disease. In the normoganglionic segment, many nitrergic nerve cells were localized in Auerbach's plexus and nerve fibres were observed preferentially in the circular muscle. The submucosal nitrergic nerve cells were mainly situated in Schabadasch's plexus with occasional cells demonstrable in Meissner's plexus. NOS and VIP were co-localized in most ganglion cells of Auerbach's plexus. In the oligoganglionic segment, a marked reduction of NOS- and VIP- positive nerve cells and fibres was noticed in both the myenteric and submucosal plexuses, and nitrergic fibres had disappeared in the inner layer of the circular muscle. In the aganglionic segment, NOS and VIP were revealed only in extrinsic nerve fasciculi and rami and co-localized in a few fibres. From these observations, the inner layer of the circular muscle of the oligoganglionic segment and the whole of the muscularis propria of the aganglionic segment were considered to be totally lacking in nitrergic innervation. Nitrergic nerves of the human colon comprise both intrinsic and extrinsic elements and the majority of intrinsic nitrergic nerve cells contain VIP. Very low numbers of extrinsic nitrergic fibres contain VIP.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology