Changes in the innervation of the mouse internal anal sphincter during aging

Wang, C.; Houghton, M. J.; Gamage, P. P.K.M; Collins, H. E.; Patel, B. A.; Yeoman, M. S.; Ranson, R. N. and Saffrey, M. J. (2013). Changes in the innervation of the mouse internal anal sphincter during aging. Neurogastroenterology and Motility, 25(7) e469-e477.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/nmo.12144

Abstract

Background

The innervation of the mouse internal anal sphincter (IAS) has been little studied, and how it changes during aging has not previously been investigated. The aim of this study was therefore to characterize the distribution and density of subtypes of nerve fibers in the IAS and underlying mucosa in 3-, 12- to 13-, 18- and 24- to 25-month-old male C57BL/6 mice.

Methods

Nerve fibers were immunolabeled with antibodies against protein gene product 9.5 (PGP9.5), neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), substance P (SP), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), and calretinin (CR). Immunoreactivity in nerve fibers in the circular muscle and mucosa was quantified using Image J software. Key Results In young adult (3 month) mice, nNOS-immunoreactive (IR) nerve fibers were densely distributed in the circular muscle, but relatively few in the mucosa; VIP-IR nerve fibers were abundant in the circular muscle and common in the mucosa; SP-IR nerve fibers were common in circular muscle and mucosa; CGRP- and CR-IR nerve fibers were dense in mucosa and sparse in circular muscle. The density of PGP9.5 immunoreactivity (IRY) was not significantly reduced with age, but a significant reduction in nNOS-IRY and SP-IRY with age was found in the IAS circular muscle. Neuronal nitric oxide synthase-, VIP-, and SP-IRY in the anal mucosa were significantly reduced with age. CGRP-IRY in both circular muscle and mucosa was increased in 18-month-old animals.

Conclusions & Inferences

The density of immunoreactivity of markers for some types of IAS nerve fibers decreases during aging, which may contribute to age-related ano-rectal dysfunction.

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