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J Physiol. 2006 Dec 1;577(Pt 2):689-704. Epub 2006 Sep 7.

Real-time measurement of serotonin release and motility in guinea pig ileum.

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


Enterochromaffin (EC) cells are sensors that detect chemical or mechanical stimuli and respond with release of serotonin (5-HT). 5-HT activates local motor reflexes, but whether local motor reflexes also evoke 5-HT release is unknown. The aim of the present study was to establish the relationship between the release of 5-HT and the enteric neural circuits controlling the movements of the intestine. Recordings were made from full-thickness preparations of guinea pig ileum using electrochemical techniques with carbon fibre electrodes to measure local concentrations of 5-HT. The tension in the circular muscle (CM) and longitudinal muscle (LM) was recorded with force transducers. The release of 5-HT from the EC cells was detected selectively and the timing of the events quantified. Pressure-evoked peristalsis caused detectable 5-HT release only when the recording site was invaded by a ring of CM contraction. Spontaneous and stretch-evoked reflex contraction of the CM and LM occurred simultaneously with 5-HT release. Paralysis of the smooth muscle significantly reduced the stretch-evoked release. Muscarinic agonists evoked reflexes that were associated with increases in tension in CM and LM simultaneous with 5-HT release. Tetrodotoxin abolished the coordination between the CM contraction and 5-HT release but not the direct activation of the CM and EC cells by the agonists. In conclusion, the correlation between local motor reflexes and 5-HT release observed in the present study is caused primarily by the contraction of the smooth muscle and subsequent deformation of the mucosa. The EC cell is, thus, a site of convergence for mechanical forces that contribute to the release of 5-HT during motor reflexes.

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