Electrical coupling of circular muscle to longitudinal muscle and interstitial cells of Cajal in canine colon.
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1. Electrical communication between circular muscle, longitudinal muscle and interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) was investigated; the hypothesis was tested that the resting membrane potential (RMP) gradient in the circular muscle of canine colon is caused by electrical coupling to neighbouring cells. 2. Isolated longitudinal muscle exhibited spike-like action potentials at a RMP of -45 mV with a frequency and amplitude of 20 cycles/min and 12 mV, respectively. 3. The circular muscle (CM), devoid of longitudinal muscle, myenteric plexus and submuscular ICC-smooth-muscle network, was electrically quiescent at a uniform RMP of -62 mV across the entire circular muscle layer. 4. Preparations consisting of only the submuscular ICC network and a few adjacent layers of circular muscle cells exhibited slow wave-type action potentials at a RMP of about -80 mV. 5. In ICC-CM preparations, consisting of the submuscular ICC network and circular muscle, a RMP gradient of 10 mV was observed near the submucosal border, whereas the RMP was constant at -62 mV in the myenteric half of the circular muscle. 6. In full thickness (FT) preparations, a RMP gradient of 23 mV was observed. The RMP decreased gradually from -71 mV at the submucosal border to -48 mV at the myenteric border of the circular muscle. 7. Coupling of longitudinal muscle to circular muscle caused circular muscle cells at the myenteric surface to depolarize by 14 mV and longitudinal muscle cells to hyperpolarize by 3 mV. 8. In the ICC-CM preparations, the slow wave amplitudes did not decay exponentially away from the ICC network indicating that slow waves propagated actively into the circular muscle; in the FT preparations there was an apparent exponential decay but this was due to the RMP gradient. 9. Spike-like action potentials (SLAPs) superimposed on the plateau phase of slow waves did not decay exponentially away from the myenteric border suggesting that SLAPs were generated within the circular muscle layer. 10. In summary, circular muscle cells possess a uniform intrinsic RMP of -62 mV. The RMP gradient in situ is caused by electrical coupling of circular muscle cells to longitudinal muscle cells and the submuscular network of ICC. In situ, slow wave-type action potentials propagate actively into the circular muscle layer, and, dependent on the level of excitation, circular muscle cells actively generate spikes.
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