• Szurszewski, Joseph H (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The long term objective is to understand how the prevertebral ganglia
regulate/modulate colonic, small intestinal and gastric motility. Toward
this objective four major areas of study are planned. In the first,
experiments are designed to determine the functional role of substance P,
vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, the enkephalin and bombesin in the
regulation of colonic motility. In the second, the pattern and nature of
synaptic input to and the electrophysiological properties of intramural
ganglion cells will be determined with the view that these parafascicular
ganglion distribute central commands to the myenteric plexus and thereby
play a role in influencing or controlling gastric motility. In the third
area, sympathetic regulation of gastric and intestinal motility will be
addressed by identifying the precise arrangement between preganglionic
fibers arising from the thoraco-lumbar spinal cord and ganglion cells in
the celiac ganglia. In the final area, experiments are designed to
delineate the wiring of the abdominal prevertebral ganglia by determining
the nature and extent of intra- and inter-ganglionic connections between
ganglion cells in the same and adjacent ganglia and by determining the
topographical (spatial) arrangement of ganglion cells in the prevertebral
ganglia which innervate the stomach and different functional regions of the
small intestine. The methods of approach will involve immunological
techniques including radioimmunoassay and immunopharmacological methods,
measurement of intraluminal pressure in segments of the gastrointestinal
tract, intracellular recordings from individual ganglion cells and
morphological techniques using the horseradish peroxidase method of marking
neurons. Both in vitro and in vivo experiments are planned. Guinea pigs
and cats will be used for studies on the pevertebral ganglia whereas
opossum will be used for studies on intramural ganglion cells of the
stomach. These studies may be particularly relevant to disturbances in
gastrointestinal motility including ileus or adynamic bowel,
pseudo-obstruction, gastric atonia and autonomic dysfunction affecting
gastric and intestinal motility. These studies may also shed some light on
the possible neural peptidergic basis for an association between visceral
pain and gastrointestinal motor abnormalities.
Effective start/end date7/1/774/30/90


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)


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