Inhibitory innervation of colonic smooth muscle cells and interstitial cells of Cajal
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The effect of neural inhibition on the electrical activities of circular and longitudinal colonic smooth muscle was investigated. In addition, a comparative study was carried out between circular muscle preparations with and without the "submucosal" and "myenteric plexus" network of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) to study innervation of the "submucosal" ICC and to investigate whether or not the ICC network is an essential intermediary system for inhibitory innervation of smooth muscle cells. Electrical stimulation of intrinsic nerves in the presence of atropine caused inhibitory junction potentials (ijps) throughout the circular and longitudinal muscle layers. The ijp amplitude depended on the membrane potential and not on the location of the muscle cells with respect to the ICC network. Neurally mediated inhibition of the colon resulted in a reduction in amplitude and duration of slow wave type action potentials in circular and abolishment of spike-like action potentials in longitudinal smooth muscle, both resulting in a reduction of contractile activity. With respect to mediation by ICC, the study shows (i) "submucosal" ICC receive direct inhibitory innervation and (ii) circular smooth muscle cells can be directly innervated by inhibitory nerves without ICC as necessary intermediaries. The reversal potential of the ijp in colonic smooth muscle was observed to be approximately -76 mV, close to the estimated potassium equilibrium potential, suggesting that the nerve-mediated hyperpolarization is caused by increased potassium conductance.
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