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Title: The enteric nervous system and interstitial cells of Cajal of the horse
Author: Hudson, Neil P. H.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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Gastrointestinal diseases, including obstructive and motility disorders such as grass sickness, are very common in the horse. Motility disorders may represent a dysfunction of the neural, muscular or pacemaker components (interstitial cells of Cajal, ICC) of bowel control. ICC are the c-Kit-immunoreactive cells responsible for the generation of pacemaker activity in gastrointestinal smooth muscle. Impairment of this ICC-mediated pacemaker action has been implicated in several motility disorders in humans and laboratory mammals. Equine dysautonomia (grass sickness) is a common, frequently fatal disease of horses characterised by dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract. Neurons of the enteric nervous system (ENS) are primarily and most severely targeted by the putative neurotoxin causing the disease. The aims of this study were: - to characterised the morphology and neurochemical expression of the equine ENS using tissue culture and immunohistochemistry. - to study the distribution of the ICC in the intestine in normal and grass sickness-affected horses. - to perform a detailed in vitro investigation of the electrical properties and control of smooth muscle in both the healthy and diseased intestine. - to test the hypothesis that impaired ICC-mediated control is responsible for intestinal dysfunction. Fresh ileal samples were harvested from adult horses free from gastrointestinal disease euthanased on humane grounds. Small mammal (guinea pig and rat) systems were used for comparison and development of techniques. The tissues were microdissected to prepare wholemount preparations for immunohistochemistry and for either explant or dissociated culture systems of the enteric nervous system. Immunoreactivity was assessed using a standard indirect immunofluorescence technique. In the horse, explant culture systems were established using wholemounts of either the submucous plexus or the muscularis externa (including the myenteric plexus). Dissociated cell cultures could only be obtained from the submucous plexus. This was in contrast to small mammal models where enteric neurons were grown in both myenteric and submucous systems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available