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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2003 Aug;285(2):G291-7. Epub 2003 Mar 26.

Inhibitory effects of botulinum toxin on pyloric and antral smooth muscle.

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Department of Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA.


Botulinum toxin injection into the pylorus is reported to improve gastric emptying in gastroparesis. Classically, botulinum toxin inhibits ACh release from cholinergic nerves in skeletal muscle. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of botulinum toxin on pyloric smooth muscle. Guinea pig pyloric muscle strips were studied in vitro. Botulinum toxin type A was added; electric field stimulation (EFS) was performed every 30 min for 6 h. ACh (100 microM)-induced contractile responses were determined before and after 6 h. Botulinum toxin caused a concentration-dependent decrease of pyloric contractions to EFS. At a low concentration (2 U/ml), botulinum toxin decreased pyloric contractions to EFS by 43 +/- 9% without affecting ACh-induced contractions. At higher concentrations (10 U/ml), botulinum toxin decreased pyloric contraction to EFS by 75 +/- 7% and decreased ACh-induced contraction by 79 +/- 9%. In conclusion, botulinum toxin inhibits pyloric smooth muscle contractility. At a low concentration, botulinum toxin decreases EFS-induced contractile responses without affecting ACh-induced contractions suggesting inhibition of ACh release from cholinergic nerves. At higher concentrations, botulinum toxin directly inhibits smooth muscle contractility as evidenced by the decreased contractile response to ACh.

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