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Am J Physiol. 1991 May;260(5 Pt 1):C917-25.

Simultaneous measurement of membrane potential, cytosolic Ca2+, and tension in intact smooth muscles.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno 89557.


Microelectrode techniques and the fluorescent Ca2+ indicator indo-1 were used to measure membrane potential, cytosolic Ca2+ ([Ca2+]cyt), and muscle tension simultaneously in canine antral smooth muscles. Responses of muscles from the myenteric and submucosal regions were compared, since electrical activity and excitation-contraction coupling in these regions differ. The upstroke phase of electrical slow waves in both regions induced an increase in [Ca2+]cyt. In myenteric muscles the plateau phase of slow waves often caused either a further rise in [Ca2+]cyt or maintenance of the level reached during the upstroke event. In submucosal muscles, the plateau phase was significantly smaller and did not induce a second phase in the Ca2+ transient. Contractions were related to the amplitudes of Ca2+ transients. Acetylcholine (ACh; 3 x 10(-8)-10(-6) M) increased the amplitude and duration of the plateau phase of slow waves in a concentration-dependent manner. ACh also increased the second phase of Ca2+ transients and contractile responses associated with the plateau potential. In submucosal muscles ACh induced a significant increase in the plateau phase of the slow wave and increased the corresponding phase of Ca2+ transient. Nicardipine (10(-6) M) inhibited plateau phase of slow waves and the associated increases in [Ca2+]cyt and muscle tension. BAY K 8644 (10(-7) M) augmented the plateau potential and increased [Ca2+]cyt and muscle tension. These results suggest that dihydropyridine-sensitive Ca2+ currents participate in the plateau potential. Cholinergic stimulation modulates [Ca2+]cyt and therefore force by regulating the amount of Ca2+ entering cells through these channels.

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