Intrinsic Innervation of a Reptilian Esophagus (Podarcis hispanica)

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We study the esophagus of Podarcis hispanica through different methods to clarify the structure and affinities of its wall innervation. The acetylcholinesterase method reveals cholinesterase activity in two submucosal nervous plexuses, with an increasing degree of structural complexity in the reptilian esophagus, compared with amphibians. Noradrenergic innervation, detected through fluorescence induced by formol, widely spreads its network in both the myenteric and submucosal plexuses (around the blood vessels in the external submucosal plexus, and to the glandular lamina propria in the inner submucosal plexus). Immunohistochemistry for vasoactive intestinal peptide shows a widespread innervation, with neurons clustered in ganglia and also scattered through the VIPergic network, only at the myenteric plexus. Immunohistochemistry for substance P shows a rich innervation along the entire wall of the esophagus, more concentrated in its caudal region, around the blood vessels. Electron microscopy shows the enteric neuronal ultrastructure and its relationship with the esophagus wall.

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