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The enteric nervous system controls a variety of gastrointestinal functions including intestinal motility. The minimal neuronal circuit necessary to direct peristalsis is well-characterized but several intestinal regions display also other motility patterns for which the underlying circuits and connectivity schemes that coordinate the transition between those patterns are poorly understood. We investigated whether in regions with a richer palette of motility patterns, the underlying nerve circuits reflect this complexity. Using Ca imaging, we determined the location and response fingerprint of large populations of enteric neurons upon focal network stimulation. Complemented by neuronal tracing and volumetric reconstructions of synaptic contacts, this shows that the multifunctional proximal colon requires specific additional circuit components as compared to the distal colon, where peristalsis is the predominant motility pattern. Our study reveals that motility control is hard-wired in the enteric neural networks and that circuit complexity matches the motor pattern portfolio of specific intestinal regions.
Pieter Vanden Berghe
Zhiling Li,Marlene M Hao,Chris Van den Haute,Veerle Baekelandt,Werend Boesmans,Pieter Vanden Berghe