The localisation and distribution of neuropeptide Y (NPY)-like immunoreactivity were studied by use of immunohistochemical methods in gut tissues from 19 patients with Hirschsprung's disease, including 4 cases of long segment aganglionosis. In the normoganglionic segment, immunoreactive cell bodies and nonvaricose processes were seen within both myenteric and submucous plexuses. A scarce supply of varicose fibres was found in the lamina propria mucosae, muscularis mucosae and longitudinal muscle layer. NPY fibres were more frequently encountered in the circular muscle layer, although with a weakly immunostaining intensity. In addition, blood vessels in the submucosal connective tissue were surrounded by a typical plexus of varicose, NPY-positive fibres. Immunoreactive endocrine cells could be detected in the colonic epithelium. In the aganglionic segment, numerous nerve fasciculi comprising a small to moderate number of NPY fibres with varicosities were observed throughout the entire layer of the colonic wall. A few varicose, NPY-positive fibres were also contained in the relatively large, hypertrophic nerve fasciculi located in the intermuscular zone and submucosal connective tissue. NPY-immunoreactive fasciculi were more densely distributed in the distal aganglionic segment than in the proximal aganglionic one. On the other hand, the distribution of NPY-positive fibres in long segment aganglionosis was quite different from that in short segment type; in cases of long segment type, no immunoreactive nerve fibres were detected within the circular muscle layer of the proximal aganglionic segment near the oligoganglionic segment and only a few fibres were observed within the hypertrophic nerve bundle of the intermuscular zone. The present results suggest that NPY-like immunoreactive nerves in the human colon have a dual origin of intrinsic and extrinsic elements. The origin and nature of extrinsic NPY nerve fibres in the human colon are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience