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Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) peptide in the enteric nervous system of the porcine esophagus

Makowska, Krystyna, Rytel, Liliana, Lech, Piotr, Osowski, Adam, Kruminis-Kaszkiel, Ewa, Gonkowski, Slawomir
Comptes rendus 2018 v.341 no.6 pp. 325-333
acetylcholine, active ingredients, brain, esophagus, food intake, neuronal nitric oxide synthase, neurons, peripheral nervous system, swine, vasoactive intestinal peptide
Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CART) is widely distributed within the central and peripheral nervous system. In the brain, CART is considered as the main anorectic peptide involved in the regulation of food intake. Contrary to the central nervous system, a lot of aspects connected with the distribution and functions of CART within the enteric nervous system (ENS) still remain unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate, for the first time, the population of CART-like immunoreactive (CART-LI) neurons within the porcine esophagus and the denotation of their neurochemical coding. During this experiment, the distribution of CART-LI neurons and the colocalization of CART with other neuronal active substances were examined using standard double- and triple-immunofluorescence techniques in enteric plexuses of cervical, thoracic, and abdominal esophagus fragments. The obtained results showed that CART is present in a relatively high percentage of esophageal neurons (values fluctuated from 45.2±0.9% in the submucous plexus of the thoracic esophagus to 58.1±5.0% in the myenteric plexus of the same fragment of the esophagus). Moreover, CART colocalized with a wide range of other active neuronal substances, mainly with the vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT, a marker of cholinergic neurons), neuronal isoform of nitric oxide synthase (nNOS, a marker of nitrergic neurons), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and galanin (GAL). The number of CART-positive neuronal cells and their neurochemical coding clearly depended on the fragment of esophagus studied and the type of enteric plexus. The obtained results suggest that CART may play important and multidirectional roles in the neuronal regulation of esophageal functions.