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Neuroscience. 2007 Jun 15;147(1):146-52. Epub 2007 May 23.

P2 purinoceptor antagonists inhibit the non-adrenergic, non-cholinergic relaxation of the human colon in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapy, Division of Pharmacodynamics, University of Pécs Medical School, Szigeti u 12, H-7643 Pécs, Hungary.


Neurotransmitters released by myenteric neurons regulate movements of intestinal smooth muscles. There has been little pharmacological evidence for a role of purinergic mechanisms in the non-adrenergic, non-cholinergic (NANC) relaxation of the human large intestine. We used P(2) purinoceptor antagonists to assess whether such receptors are involved in the NANC relaxation of the circular muscle of the human sigmoid colon. It was also investigated whether the guanylate cyclase enzyme mediates the NANC response. Human colonic circular strips were tested in organ bath experiments with isotonic recording. NANC, non-nitrergic relaxations induced by electrical field stimulation (1 and 10 Hz, in the presence of atropine, guanethidine, and 100 microM N(G)-nitro-L-arginine [L-NOARG]) were strongly inhibited by a combination of the P(2) purinoceptor antagonists pyridoxal-phosphate-6-azophenyl-2',4'-sulfonic acid (PPADS) (50 microM) and suramin (100 microM). PPADS plus suramin was ineffective in the absence of L-NOARG. L-NOARG alone significantly reduced the NANC relaxation to electrical stimulation. PPADS plus suramin strongly inhibited the relaxation in response to exogenous alpha,beta-methylene ATP. The guanylate cyclase inhibitor 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ) (3 microM) inhibited the NANC relaxation, but did not add to its reduction by L-NOARG. L-NOARG was still slightly effective in the presence of ODQ. Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide tachyphylaxis failed to influence the non-nitrergic NANC relaxation. It is concluded that nitric oxide (NO) and ATP co-mediate, in a non-additive manner, the NANC relaxation. NO probably acts through the guanylate cyclase, though a small fraction of its effect might be mediated by other mechanisms. Activators of the guanylate cyclase other than NO do not seem to participate in the NANC relaxation.

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