Generation of slow wave type action potentials in the mouse small intestine involves a non-L-type calcium channel Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Intrinsic electrical activities in various isolated segments of the mouse small intestine were recorded (i) to characterize action potential generation and (ii) to obtain a profile on the ion channels involved in initiating the slow wave type action potentials (slow waves). Gradients in slow wave frequency, resting membrane potential, and occurrence of spiking activity were found, with the proximal intestine exhibiting the highest frequency, the most hyperpolarized cell membrane, and the greatest occurrence of spikes. The slow waves were only partially sensitive to L-type calcium channel blockers. Nifedipine, verapamil, and pinaverium bromide abolished spikes that occurred on the plateau phase of the slow waves in all tissues. The activity that remained in the presence of L-type calcium channel blockers, the upstroke potential, retained a similar amplitude to the original slow wave and was of identical frequency. The upstroke potential was not sensitive to a reduction in extracellular chloride or to the sodium channel blockers tetrodotoxin and mexiletine. Abolishment of the Na+ gradient by removal of 120 mM extracellular Na+ reduced the upstroke potential frequency by 13–18% and its amplitude by 50–70% in the ileum. The amplitude was similarly reduced by Ni2+ (up to 5 mM), and by flufenamic acid (100 μM), a nonspecific cation and chloride channel blocker. Gadolinium, a nonspecific blocker of cation and stretch-activated channels, had no effect. Throughout these pharmacological manipulations, a robust oscillation remained at 5–10 mV. This oscillation likely reflects pacemaker activity. It was rapidly abolished by removal of extracellular calcium but not affected by L-type calcium channel blockers. In summary, the mouse small intestine has been established as a model for research into slow wave generation and electrical pacemaker activity. The upstroke part of the slow wave has two components, the pacemaker component involves a non-L-type calcium channel.Key words: slow wave, pacemaker, calcium channel, pinaverium, smooth muscle.


  • Malysz, John
  • Richardsons, David
  • Farraway, Laura
  • Huizinga, Jan
  • Christen, Marie-Odile

publication date

  • October 1, 1995