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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2006 Mar;290(3):G486-95. Epub 2005 Sep 15.

Neural regulation of slow-wave frequency in the murine gastric antrum.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA.


Gastric peristaltic contractions are driven by electrical slow waves modulated by neural and humoral inputs. Excitatory neural input comes primarily from cholinergic motor neurons, but ACh causes depolarization and chronotropic effects that might disrupt the normal proximal-to-distal spread of gastric slow waves. We used intracellular electrical recording techniques to study cholinergic responses in stomach tissues from wild-type and W/W(V) mice. Electrical field stimulation (5 Hz) enhanced slow-wave frequency. These effects were abolished by atropine and the muscarinic M(3)-receptor antagonist 4-diphenylacetoxy-N-methylpiperidine methiodide. ACh released from nerves did not depolarize antral muscles. At higher rates of stimulation (10 Hz), chronotropic effects were mediated by ACh and a noncholinergic transmitter and blocked by muscarinic antagonists and neurokinin (NK(1) and NK(2))-receptor antagonists. Neostigmine enhanced slow-wave frequency, suggesting that the frequency of antral pacemakers is kept low by efficient metabolism of ACh. Neostigmine had no effect on slow-wave frequency in muscles of W/W(v) mice, which lack intramuscular interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC-IM). These muscles also showed no significant chronotropic response to 5-Hz electrical field stimulation or the cholinergic agonist carbachol. The data suggest that the chronotropic effects of cholinergic nerve stimulation occur via ICC-IM in the murine stomach. The capacity of gastric muscles to metabolize ACh released from enteric motor neurons contributes to the maintenance of the proximal-to-distal slow-wave frequency gradient in the murine stomach. ICC-IM play a critical role in neural regulation of gastric motility, and ICC-IM become the dominant pacemaker cells during sustained cholinergic drive.

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